The Forest Painter

The Forest Painter

A Short Story

Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
12 Pages
Reviewed on 08/13/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Forest Painter is a short fantasy story for children and preteens written by Diane Mae Robinson. It just seemed entirely too big a task for her to undertake, and her grandmother’s abrupt passing meant Aura had never been properly instructed on her role as the Forest Painter. Her pixie friend, Kepa, warned her of the danger of failure -- if she didn’t clothe the leaves with their autumnal glories before the arrival of the frost queen, the forest would lose those colors, and be doomed to wear wintry white forever. Kepa advised that Aura ask Boreal, the Star Master, for help. Kepa was sure he could instruct Aura as her grandmother would have done, but Aura didn’t trust him. She had seen him take something of her grandmother’s, and she was not going to ask for his help. But suddenly the frost seemed to be gathering speed, wintry blasts and hail presaged the queen’s arrival. Could Aura finish painting the forest in time?

Diane Mae Robinson’s short fantasy story for children and preteens, The Forest Painter, is a sweet and magical tale about a young fairy faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Robinson’s fable is filled with color and enchantment as Aura is forced to fill shoes that seem very big indeed. Her characters are sympathetic, and the urgency of their situation is contagious. I loved the images Robinson creates of young Aura flinging the paint buckets into the air to try to cope with her very big responsibility; her excitement at seeing her actions make a difference; and her later despair that it is too little too late. Robinson ably builds the tension in this tale as winter approaches and the forest’s leaves have not fully changed. The Forest Painter is most highly recommended.

Gisela Hausmann, author and blogger

It's a beautiful fairy tale.
Forest painter Aura never learned the art. It's her job to color the forest in Fall colors, " ... the leaves must breathe with autumn beauty beforethe frost queen arrives, or she will claim the forest white forever..."
Aura's biggest problem is that she has big shoes to fill, the late grandmother was the master painter. The story does not reveal Aura's age but sheseems like an older teenager who suddenly finds herself with hugeresponsibilities. Though she complains to the pixie at first sheovercomes her self-doubts and decides to tackle the task. She does notwant to ask Boreal for help because she suspects that he will try tosteal the golden paintbrush.

There is wisdom in this story. Auraneeds to learn to see with her heart. When things get really tight andshe can feel the breath of frost queen she learn to overcome her doubtsand ask Boreal for help.
"... She gasped when she realized that this power, this magic of thought, was within herself--she just had tobelieve. She spread her wings and willingly fell into the waltzing dance of the wind..."

Diane Mae Robinson is a fantastic writer. On "The Forest Painter: A Short Story ´she wraps the lessons of life into an enchanting fairy tale that is bound to excite younger and older teenagers. The book's vocabulary is sophisticated.

Barbara Mojica, author

Deep within The Majestic Forest, a bugle call from the top of Peak Mountain has summoned the fairy sprites, the elves, and the wind weavers to perform their autumn responsibilities. But Aura, the Forest Painter, who has been designated to paint the leaves in autumn colors, feels she cannot accomplish the task. Her grandmother was the master painter. Both Aura's grandmother and parents have already left to paint the heavens. Aura complains that she has not been prepared properly for the task. If she cannot complete her work before the frost arrives, the frost queen will claim the forest forever. Kepa urges her to ask Boreal to help, but Aura believes that Boreal once stole her grandmother's paintbrush. Will Aura succeed in her race against time to save the trees of the forest? All the plants and animals of the forest are dependent upon her.

This twelve page story is written with tenderness and empathy. Robinson has deftly woven personification and alliteration with a cadence of language that is charming. Written for a middle grade audience, it is a sweet and sensitive read that will appeal to a wide range of audiences from beginning reader to adult. Perfect afternoon read to get into the spirit of the changing season.

Chris Graham, blogger

Even Fairies can have off days and doubts, but Aura needs to paint the forest in autumn colours before Winter claims it forever...

C.L. Murphy, author

The author paints with her words, as Aura does with her golden paintbrush, in this magical tale. They sparkle! A short and sweet story of overcoming doubt and believing in yourself that both young and old will enjoy.