Sometimes the most incredible stories are the true ones, the stories passed through generations, eventually becoming legend. Rebecca Bond’s Out of the Woods, based on her grandfather’s childhood at Lake Gowganda in Ontario, Canada, is one of these.
Life in his mother’s hotel provided Antonio with myriad things to discover. Between days spent helping cook and stoke fires, and evenings spent listening to hotel guests make music and tell tales, Antonio’s life was happy and busy. But more than anything, Antonio was enthralled by the elusive animals of the forest. When a summer forest fire threatens Antonio’s home, the hotel’s inhabitants take refuge in the lake. But they aren’t alone in the water. Readers will share Antonio’s disbelief as the forest creatures—also fleeing the blaze—join them. Predator and prey alike quietly, peacefully share the lake.
With a skillful artist’s hand and an eye for intriguing detail, Bond captures not only one remarkable event in 1914, but also an era. Hunters and loggers, tourists and miners fill the pages, along with near-forgotten trappings of their world: kerosene lamps and tobacco pipes, wood-burning stoves and travelers’ trunks. Bond’s stylized drawings do more than just evoke the setting and the time; her lines echo tree bark, the animals’ rough fur and thick wool blankets on beds. Bond tells the story simply but illustrates with the pride that comes with telling a story you’ve not just heard, but inherited.
A beautiful story in its own right, Out of the Woods rings with an honesty that will captivate readers of all ages. By passing along her grandfather’s tale, Bond reminds us that the most fascinating stories are those that really happened.