A walk in the woods

Nikki Grimes

Book - 2023

A grieving son follows a treasure map his late father left him through the woods they used to explore together.

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Children's Room jE/Grimes Checked In
Children's Room jE/Grimes Checked In
Nature fiction
Picture books
New York : Holiday House 2023.
Main Author
Nikki Grimes (author)
Other Authors
Jerry Pinkney (illustrator), J. Brian Pinkney
Item Description
"Neal Porter books"
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Ages 4-8.
Grades K-1.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

A week after his father's funeral, a Black boy opens the envelope that his father left for him and finds a map showing the nearby woods. In one spot is a red X. Does it mark a treasure? He and his father frequently walked those woods together, and he feels reluctant to go alone, but he does. Noticing a garter snake and an eagle along the way, he follows the paths to the spot and finds a rusted metal box containing sketches of woodland wildlife, with an unfinished story beneath each drawing. His father created both the sketches and the writings as a boy. On the last page, he invites his son to finish the stories and to draw and write his own. The back matter tells of the book's creation. Grimes and Jerry Pinkney decided to collaborate on a book in which Black characters engage with nature. Grimes wrote the free verse text, which tells the story concisely, while expressing the boy's shifting emotions beautifully. Before his death in 2021, Jerry Pinkney finished the detailed, engaging drawings, which reflect his love for the natural world. Afterwards, his son Brian Pinkney was asked to add the watercolor washes, which have a distinctive, ethereal quality that enhances the story. An original, inspiring picture book.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In an elegantly collaborative picture book about how "there's always something that remains," Grimes (Bedtime for Sweet Creatures), the late Jerry Pinkney (The Lion and the Mouse), and Brian Pinkney (Hey Otter! Hey Beaver!) center a grieving Black narrator following his beloved father's death. A week after the funeral, the child, questioning aloud ("Why did you have to leave?"), opens an envelope left behind and finds a map of the nearby woods that he and his dad often explored--"with a marked spot shouting in bright red: 'TREASURE.' " Emotions run high as the child heads to the woods, encountering memories and remaining alert to changing elements. "With each step, the hurt inside my heart pounds less." Arriving at the marked spot, he finds a locked box, and inside, a sheaf of illustrations and poems about woodland animals--all created by his father at the child's age, and all revealed in detail for the reader. Meditatively commanding text accompanies structural sketches that Jerry Pinkney completed before his death as well as loose, forest-hued wash overlays from Brian Pinkney. It's a powerfully layered call to creativity and loving bonds that endure beyond death: "I close my eyes, and feel Dad next to me, his hand on my shoulder, light as leaves." Creators' notes conclude. Ages 4--8. Author's agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. Illustrator's agent: (for Jerry Pinkney) Sheldon Fogelman, Sheldon Fogelman Agency; (for Brian Pinkney) Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Horn Book Review

Shortly after his father's death, a boy opens an envelope his father left him to find a map of the woods with a bright red X marking a destination. Still coping with his loss, he sets out on the path he and his father had taken on their walks through the woods near home. Along the way, the familiarity of trees, creatures, and a Mohican water storage house softens his sorrow while he reminisces about their conversations. At the marked spot, he discovers a metal box filled with sketches of wildlife and unfinished stories created by his father when he was the boy's age. The last page is blank with a note to the boy: "Draw and write your own story. I'll always be watching." Grimes's celebration of nature is as eloquent as her treatment of loss is poignant. Brian Pinkney's watercolor illustrations are equally expressive. This book began as a collaboration between Grimes and Jerry Pinkney; following Jerry's death in 2021, Brian joined Grimes to complete his father's illustrations, adding color to Jerry's tight sketches. Appended notes from Grimes and Brian Pinkney share their respective personal experiences with the collaboration. A touching testament to the power of memories to sustain those in grief. Pauletta Brown BracySeptember/October 2023 p.54 (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A multilayered tale of loss. A Black boy opens an envelope from his recently deceased father and finds a treasure map marked with a red X. Disappointed his dad hasn't left him a letter, the boy puts on his hiking boots and reluctantly enters the woods. As he walks along the Hudson, he sees animals and notices reminders of the Mohicans, the original inhabitants of this land. Entering the ruins of a house, he finds a metal box in the brick fireplace and opens it with a key that has mysteriously appeared in his pocket. Inside, he finds a treasure trove of drawings of the natural world and an invitation to honor his father's artistic legacy. Grimes' quiet yet potent verse captures not only the boy's loss, but also the memories his father has left behind. In a moving author's note, she discusses her decadeslong friendship with Jerry Pinkney, who completed sketches for the book before he died in 2021; in an illustrator's note, Brian Pinkney describes how he completed the artwork and explains that this story mirrors his own experience of grappling with his father's death. Brian's stunning, opalescent watercolors closely resemble Jerry's but include the circular patterns and movement characteristic of his own illustrations. Together, Grimes and the Pinkneys have produced a profoundly stirring and thought-provoking musing on how the ones we love never really leave us. (This book was reviewed digitally.) Joy and hope walk alongside sadness and grief in this unforgettable work. (Picture book. 4-10) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.