Alone in The Forest
Publisher: Tara Books
This is the simplest of stories. A boy goes gathering firewood in the forest and hears a terrifying noise. Overcome with fear, he hides in a hollow tree: afraid it might be wild boars, he's scared to venture out. Eventually a squirrel appears. Reassured by the tiny creature Musa leaves his sanctuary, returning home firewood-free, but brimming with pride at his courage.
What makes this book extraordinary - and elevates a simple story into a complex, very real emotional and psychological experience of fear and of a particular place - are the illustrations. Created by Gond tribal artists from Madhaya Pradesh, this is intense, intricate and patterned artwork, buzzing with mysterious depths of colour and texture, graphically depicting an individual's and a culture's world-view. Strange, atmospheric and beautiful.