Friday, September 20, 2019

The Lost Forest

The Lost Forest 
by Phyllis Root; illus. by Betsy Bowen
40 pages; ages 4 - 9
Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2019

theme: maps, forests, wildlife

How do you lose a forest?

Especially when trees are so tall you can’t see their tops. So big it takes two or more people holding hands to reach around. You’d think a forest of trees like that would be easy to find – but in 1882, in Minnesota, a survey crew lost an entire forest. It disappeared right off their maps! Great news for the trees – they kept right on growing. Great news for the other plants and the animals living in the forest – they kept on raising seeds and babies and continuing their community of life.

For more than 75 years the mistake stayed on the map, protecting the trees from the lumberjacks’ saws and axes. Now the forest is protected and you can go visit 350-year old pines. So it is a lost-and-found forest, right?

What I like love about this book: I love the way Phyllis Root tells her story, with a sly wink to the reader. “If you were trying to turn this rollicking land into straight lines on paper, you might make a mistake,” she writes.  She reminds readers that the trees had never been lost. Neither had the orchids, porcupines, and other wild plants and animals. They knew exactly where they were!

I love the illustrations by Betsy Bowen. They pull you right into the woods. I like the endpages – maps of the township – and the plentitude of back matter. There you’ll find out more about old growth forests and some of the species you might find there. You can find out more about surveying, and there’s a fun section called “how to talk like a surveyor”.

Beyond the Books:

Map your backyard. Here’s a great blog post to inspire you. And another link.

Use legos to build a map of a place you know, or a place in a story. Get some ideas here.

Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. And we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website . Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. This sounds like a fun and fascinating book! And, having taken a class in surveying, I love the idea of having a section called "how to talk like a surveyor." The San Francisco Public Library has 6 on order. I'm first in the hold line. Yay!

  2. Absolutely fascinating. I found this at my public library and ordered it while I was reading your post. Thanks for that. I'm sure I'll enjoy it.