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Little Witch Hazel: A Year in the Forest

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Little Witch Hazel is a beautiful ode to nature, friendship, wild things and the seasons that only Phoebe Wahl could create: an instant classic and a book that readers will pore over time and time again. A pleasant walk through the four seasons, this book is four vignettes of stories of Little Witch Hazel and her life in the forest. Note if you have sensitive youngsters that the autumn chapter has a bit of a spooky focus where there is a strange moaning sound heard and characters wondering as to whether any scary monsters/creatures are making it (the images of what is being imaged might be frightening to some) though what it turns out to be is nothing scary and provides an opportunity for kindness and compassion. I was reminded a bit here of the work of such greats as Elsa Beskow, as well as such books as Marilyn Nickson and Fritz Baumgartne's Nicky and His Forest Friends.

In Spring: The Orphaned Egg, Hazel cares for an abandoned egg, raising Otis the owl when he hatches. phoebe is a precious little witch living amongst fairies and mice and friends, and each of these four little stories focuses on a new season. Little Witch Hazel: A Year in the Forest is the first book I have read from Wahl, but I certainly hope it will not be the last!It's full of the old-fashioned charm and magic of fairies; talking animals; witches who heal; adorable little homes made in the base of tree trunks, mushrooms, old shoes. Summer: The Lazy Day sees our witchy heroine attempting to get some work done, only to finally give in to the relaxation and pleasure-seeking of her peers.

She grew up unschooled in Washington State, and credits her free spirited childhood in the Northwest for much of her inspiration and work ethic. There are big themes that preschool-aged children go through, and each theme is handled with gentle care, humor and triumph.Instead we just march through the four seasons doing a whole lot of nothing except walking around a tiny village peopled with all sorts of elves, gnomes, and forest critters. The reader follows Hazel through each season and is able to see her home, the forest, and all of her neighbors in different settings. She is the award-winning author and illustrator of Sonya's Chickens , Backyard Fairies and The Blue House .

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