Bond, Rebecca. Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event. Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, 2015. $17.99. unp. 978-0-374-38077-9. Ages 5-8. P8Q9
Almost five years old, Antonio William Giroux lives at his mother’s hotel in Gowganda, Ontario, where he finds friends among the hotel staff, lumberjacks, miners, and trappers. Life is peaceful in 1914 until a forest fire sweeps across the isolated area, forcing the people into the nearby lake. While they stand in the water, the animals of the forest from bears to rabbits join them to escape the flames, traditional enemies standing alongside each other until the fire burned itself out and the black sky lightened. Fine pen-and-ink drawings with pale gray, green, red, and sepia watercolors give a strong feeling of realism to highlight the memories of Bond’s grandfather described in a brief author’s note. Bond brilliantly demonstrates the day-to-day life in the hotel with guestrooms, dinner hall, kitchen, and work needed to maintain the large building. A beautiful view of animals and people working together under duress.
October/November 2015 review by Nel Ward.