Saturday, February 9, 2019
The Wolves and the Giant Pine Trees
A review by seaweed
When my children were young, we struggled to find them reading material that we agreed with. While finding stories with beautiful illustrations wasn’t difficult, unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for the texts. They all seemed to rely on predictable stereotypes and narratives intended to encourage conformity to the dominant belief systems. Evil witches with asymmetrical facial features and, god forbid, moles on their noses, trolls dragging their oversized feet, pretty princesses, handsome princes. Yay aristocracies! Yay equating blemishes and disabilities with villainy!
One of my friends, faced with this reality, went so far as to go through all of her kid’s books with white-out and erased whatever she considered offensive and problematic. She replaced the words with her own, creating stories that reflected her ecologically minded and feminist outlook. DIY and direct action combined!
The fact is there aren’t very many children’s books written by and for the anarchic parent and child. So I was really pleased when I received a copy of “The Wolves and the Giant Pine Trees”, a wonderful children’s book from Noel Regachuelo.
This is the story of a small village, The Village of No Fear, peacefully going about its daily routines while forgetting its reliance on the local forest for the materials that give it its crafts and building materials and firewood until there is a crisis. It is disarming in its simplicity, yet contains a depth that makes it a fable for modern times: the angry wolves will want to reckon with us if we don’t use our shared habitats wisely.
The story is exciting and moves along swiftly, reflecting the authors natural storytelling abilities.
The colorful illustrations, also by the author, are dreamy and minimalist in the best child-friendly sense with a spontaneity that makes me feel like I have just watched the illustrator paint them.
Noel Regachuelo is a father and anarchist eco-activist born and raised in the Philippines. He maintains the Greenhouse info shop project. He is a cyclist, artist and community organizer.
Also, please support fundraising efforts for the Greenhouse info shop project. you can donate on this paypal account: (email@example.com)