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In the Forest | created by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud • written by Sophie Strady

The unique collaboration of Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud has produced some of the most exquisite pop-up books out there. In the Forest and Under the Ocean are two among these stunning books that showcase their intricate, unconventional paper engineering and whimsical, stylized illustration. They are each a feast for the eyes of graphics designers, illustrators and lovers of paper.

While Under the Ocean is my personal favorite because of my love for sea books, I will focus on In the Forest here, as there is a bit more to the message. It tells a candid story of mankind's destructive impact on a forest full of creatures and their homes. The striking progression from page to page of the dwindling trees that succumb to the "roaring machines" is fascinating to see, as you compare each spread to the last. At each stage, trees remaining from the prior pages physically prevail and pop through rounded die cut areas—a clever way to exhibit the subtraction of the forest, row by row.

There is no sugar-coating in this book—the trees are being violently torn down, animals are fleeing and people are running away frightened. The bright and light-hearted nature of Boisrobert's illustrations keep things matter-of-fact and hopeful. But the narrative very closely nears the end of the book before you are given any sense that things will turn around.

All the while this is happening, the suspense surrounding one sloth builds up. The sloth comfortably hangs from a tree and has stayed fast asleep during all the commotion. (Fun fact: the first edition of this book was titled Wake up, Sloth!) During the first read, you might be thinking, "this is a lot of tension and distress to lay on a child's mind... How is this going to end?" Sophie Strady's gentle, descriptive language offsets that grave tone as well and guides the reader into the resolution. Her writing plays the part of observer, unbiased and leaving things open for the reader to react and interpret the events. Finally, after the last tree is destroyed and the sloth leaves, you turn the page and are invited to take part.

A man who longs for the lush forest begins cultivating the soil and planting the seeds to rebuild what once was. I think the intention of making this page a pull-tab is brilliant, demonstrating how we can be a part of the healing and do our part in protecting the planet.

In the Forest and Under the Ocean are printed with environmentally friendly soy ink on responsibly sourced paper.

Here are a few spreads from Under the Ocean that are particularly dreamy. If you get one of these books, it is definitely worth buying them as a pair.

For more about Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud's methods for making their books, read this great interview here on Let's Talk Picture Books:

Other Boisrobert/Riguad books:


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