By: Laurie Woodward
Do you ever get that feeling that you are being watched while walking through the forest? Eleven-year-old Daisy does and she is…by a young forest girl (Calliandra). Daisy has just moved to Sylvan Fork with her mother after her father left the family for a more adventurous life. While exploring a nearby forest she encounters a forest girl who has been separated from her parents (Mama Maple and Daddy Dogwood) because of a logging company moving through the forest. Daisy, along with her friend Albert, are determined to reunite Calliandra with her parents. Along the way they discover additional secrets and must face their fears to save the forest and their newfound friends.
I love that the characters in this book are the same ages as readers. It is often hard to find quality books that are appropriate for readers in intermediate grades. The characters are well developed and through their actions students can determine character traits and roles. Finally I appreciate the modern social issues the characters need to work through (bullies, divorce, death of a parent, deforesting, etc.) without being over the top.
Forest Secrets is perfect for students to read independently in grades 4-8. Teachers could easily use this book as an interactive read aloud to encourage predicting and inferring. There are endless opportunities for students to expand their thinking, opinions and beliefs during book club discussions. Readers that enjoy a combination of realistic fiction and a bit of fantasy will love this book. 5 stars