“Mama, I love it!” Munch turned to me with his eyes wide, full of wonder and inspiration. We had just finished a new bedtime story, The Forgotten Forest by Victoria Richards. Filled with adventure and magic we were both spellbound, eager to turn the pages to discover what delights we would meet next. Together we were completely hooked until the last word, and even then we went back through the illustrations observing little details that we had missed the first time round.
The illustrations, by Sas & Yosh, are very creative and draw you into the magic of the book. As we looked through the first pictures and words that greeted us we were swept up in it. We felt as though we were creeping through the story itself. The old oak tree, the forest cast into winter and the adventure that awaited caught our attention from the outset.
This story is made all the more special because you can personalise it. Not only is the main character in our book called Munch, but the illustration represents him too. It really helped him to feel engaged, that he was the boy finding the hidden key.
The customisation of the main character goes beyond basics. When ordering you are presented with a wide choice that does not limit you in terms of race, gender or disability. It has a very inclusive feel to it. The hero of the book is the child it is printed for, not a box that they have been wedged into by impersonal stereotypes. The details scattered throughout the text too, such as parts of our address and Munch’s favourite toy, are thoughtfully presented and don’t feel arbitrarily placed like some personalised books that I’ve seen.
The colours in the illustrations throughout are engaging, with different mixes on each page. Every colour chosen is of a gentle tone making this a perfect book to read as a bedtime story, although Munch has already asked for it several times during the day (and first thing in the morning!) too.
I don’t want to give too much away about the text, aside from it being well written and thoroughly entertaining for us both. It was easy enough for Munch to read (age 6 to give an indication of level) and flowed easily, smoothly carrying us through the tale.
The only downside of the printed version we received was that the paper was a little thin, but the publisher has promised to improve this along with the text layout on their next run.
I am delighted that we have this book and know that it will become a firm favourite with us all. To find out more about this project and preview the book, head over to the Kickstarter page: kickstarter.ohzoe.com
N.B. We were gifted a copy of this book in return for our honest review. All thoughts are our own. Please see my disclosure page for more information.
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