Once Upon a Forest by Pam Fong


Once Upon a Forest
Author and Illustrator: Pam Fong
Publication: February 8, 2021 by Random House

Goodreads Summary: This gorgeous picture book follows a helpful marmot working to save a forest recovering after a wildfire. Perfect for teaching children to practice kindness while developing an appreciation for animals and the earth.

After a fire leaves the forest smoldering, a determined marmot and her resourceful bird friend set off on a rescue mission in this beautifully illustrated, wordless story. They clear away fallen branches and scorched bushes. They rake and dig and plant new seedlings in the earth. With determination and ingenuity, as the seasons pass, they care for the little trees by making sure they have enough water, protect their branches from the wind and snow, and keep away hungry creatures, until the trees can thrive on their own.

With a little time, care, and hope we all can help the earth.

My Review: This summer and the last, our state of Colorado was cloaked in smoke. My youngest struggled to understand what was happening and why we had to stay indoors. It was even worse in California, as a whole. Wildfires are, unfortunately, something we are going to have to get used to. This book offers a beautiful, positive look at wildfires. The book focuses less on the wildfire and more on the actions of the marmot and a bird. They don’t dwell in the wildfire’s damage—they take the opportunity to plant new life. I love this book, and it is one that will stick in my heart forever. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book would be well-paired with nonfiction articles about wildfires–how to prevent them and what to do after they happen. I would also love to use this book on Earth Day.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How does the illustrator use color to enhance the story?
  • What do the marmot and bird do when the trees are damaged?
  • What adjectives would you use to describe the marmot and bird?

Flagged Passage: 

Read This If You Love:  Journey by Aaron Becker, Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell, The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett, Explorers by Matthew Cordell

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Barbara from Blue Slip Media for sending a copy for review!**

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