Out of the Woods, A True Story of an Unforgettable Event
By Rebecca Bond
Margaret Ferguson Books, 2015
Based on a true story, a four-year-old boy lives with his mother in Ontario, Canada when, in 1914, something miraculous happens.
Antonio, one of a few children, lived in a tall hotel where lumberjacks, fisherman, trappers and miners made their home. He was friends with everyone. When not following the hotel workers doing their chores, he roamed the forests. He rarely saw animals, for they knew to stay away from the dangers people brought to the forest. Then, one day smoke appeared in the forest and a bell sounded. The winds whipped the smoke and flames around and soon everyone headed for the lake. Standing in the water up to their knees, their waist or their shoulders, the people watched the flames roar through the trees. Then, the animals arrived and they, too, entered the water to watch the flames. Rabbits stood next to foxes, raccoons next to bears and moose next to people. They stood quietly next to each other for hours, maybe days, until the fire burned itself out.
The rich pen and ink drawings with smoky, muted watercolors highlight the era and the isolation of forest dwellers. The story is so rare, the drawings are so animated and filled with minute details of 1914, that it is the kind of book that sends young minds into dreams and wonder of another world.