The Fox and the Forest Fire

The Fox and the Forest Fire
Danny Popovici
Chronicle Books

We’ve heard a lot about the ravages of forest fires in various parts of the world in recent months and here debuting as a picture book author-illustrator, Danny Popovici, a former firefighter who recently had to flee from a forest fire in the region of his home, writes from the heart.

His story is narrated by a boy who has just moved from the city with his mum to a new home in the country. Initially he misses the hustle and bustle of city life, and on a hike with his mum, watched by a fox, declares country life is not for him. Little by little though the lad comes to appreciate his new surroundings as we (and the fox) are witness to his change of heart. “I feel welcome in my new home” he says.

Then one morning, there’s a strange quiet everywhere and in the distance the boy sights a tower of smoke rising up: the forest is on fire. He dashes back home to warn his mother and as the surroundings turn a fiery red, the two are forced to flee their home. The forest animals do likewise.

Eventually rain comes though it’s a long time before mother and child are allowed to return, but when they do, their house is no more. Happily however, safe and secure they begin to plan their new home, the boy stating ‘While things don’t look like they did before, the forest knows what to do after a fire.” and the final spread shows new beginnings for both displaced humans and forest creatures.

Told and illustrated with a sensitivity that comes from a deep understanding and love of nature, Popovici shows ( and after the story ends tells in a note ,) ‘naturally occurring’ forest fires can benefit a forest, while also emphasising the danger of those caused by careless humans, and global warming, as well as the need to protect our environment.

A book that offers a powerful starting point for talking about the affects of wildfires.

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