‘A Forest’ offers a deceptively simple text enhanced by sophisticated illustrations. This is Marc Martin’s first picture book, originally self-published. An experimenter with art forms and a background in graphic design, Marc Martin here uses a range of media for ‘A Forest’ including watercolour, textas, ink, pencil, scanned textures and computer-generated art.
Jacket covers are designed to attract readers and give a sense of the story to come. Here small and healthy trees and plants cover the front and back jacket covers. They are green and appear strong and healthy. There is a strip of green wrapping around the spine and inside are inviting strong green endpapers. The colour green commonly signifies nature, health, growth and prosperity.
The story begins, ‘There once was a forest’. It was a thick, lush woodland which gradually shrinks as people cut the forest down. Initially people replanted trees, but gradually they became greedy, removing all the trees and replacing these with buildings, factories and eventually a city.
This city is ornate with its variously coloured and geometrically designed buildings. But there is a lesson to be learned. ‘Yet without the forest to make the air clean, it became thick and dirty.’ Gradually the cityscape is surrounded from above and below by ominous dark green mushrooming clouds and flooding waters that wash the buildings away. All that is left is one little tree. Over time a forest grew. ‘A Forest’ has a happy ending, but the warning remains about caring for the environment. Both story and art offer a simple, powerful and memorable story.