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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.