Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Book 325: The Voice of the Wood

The Voice of the Wood, written by Claude Clement, illustrated by Frederic Clement, Dial Books, 1989.

I first encountered this book when I was working as a children's librarian.  When our department was kind of slow, I liked to shelf books so that I could "read" the shelves.  While I was shelving the books, I came across this one.

I have to admit, I don't remember a child every checking this book out for him- or herself; this book circulated because a parent fell in love with the artwork.  I checked this book out, read it, and promptly bought my own copy.  That was about nine years ago.

Now I have a five-year-old son.  My son will look at the illustrations of this book, but he is not quite ready to sit still long enough to savor the text.  That's OK -- I'm still enjoying the artwork and text.

The story is wonderful.  It is set in Venice (a city on my bucket list), and it references the Venetian carnival and the Commedia dell'arte characters.  It is a story of pride, a fall, and then redemption.  But the artwork is exquisite.

The illustrative style is Surreal, and the lavender-tinged grey of the work gives it a dreamlike quality -- as in a good dream, not a nightmare.  It, too, references the Commedia dell'arte characters.  So many of the images in this book I would love to own at least as a print.


  1. I love this book, too. I bought it for a dollar at a cut-out book store many years ago and couldn't believe my good luck. Maybe it's not for every child, but it has a haunting, other-worldly tone that I, as an adult, find irresistible. I'm always amazed at how many great books never get the attention they deserve, and remain buried treasure for those willing to dig.

    1. I agree, Dikk. It is unfortunate that some wonderful books are overlooked, and some mediocre books are lauded. Someone probably donated the copy of this book to the library. I am so glad they did. The artwork in this book is nothing short of stunning.