One usually associates Jackie Morris’s name with beautiful paintings of animals and the natural world. Here though, she has handed over the work of illustrating her words to another artist and what a felicitous partnership this has proved to be. Having said that, the author paints powerful pictures with her elegant prose as she takes us along with Little Evie, following the pathway her mother had once shown her, into the damp wild wood where sunlit butterflies dance and birds and the wind sing their songs. On walks Evie clutching her basket, watching, listening, waiting; the tension is palpable. And then into the clearing emerges a huge black form with great amber eyes, and dagger-sharp teeth. Evie holds out her grandma’s offering: seven tarts glowing red and gold. The two share their sweetness and then as evening falls, the wolf carries Evie safely back to the edge of the wood and watches as she returns to her cottage door and her waiting mother.
The atmospheric illustrations draw the reader into the folk tale world of the wild wood where you have to look long and deep to make sense of the indistinct shapes and shadows in the gloaming light. Words and pictures are pure enchantment.