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Into the Woods: Who’s Been Here?
By Lindsay Barrett George

Review by: Angela Vargas

 This is the most beautifully illustrated book you will find! The illustrations are like paintings. Any true nature lover would enjoy thumbing through this story with a child. Our story begins with two young children, William and Cammy. They follow a wooded trail, seeking signs of “who’s been here?”, along with their retriever, Sam.

Their first encounter is underneath an old cherry tree. As they peer up into the branches, they see what seems to be an empty nest. “Who’s been here?”, they ask each other. On the next page is a gorgeous northern oriole and her three babies. She is brilliantly colored with a fiery orange on her belly and black upper feathers. The weaved nest looks so real you could touch it. Next, Cammy and William come upon a huge, old tree, apparently split apart from old age. At the base is a small flat stone, with crumbs on it. Turning the page you find a fluffy red squirrel, pleasantly munching on a nut. Following along beside an old stone wall, they find something hanging from a milkweed leaf. “Who’s been here?” A grand monarch butterfly spans the page with her empty chrysalis hanging from a branch on the opposite page.

The children come to a gray tree that they must step across. They stop to notice that it has been gnawed on. What do we find on the next page? – a white snowshoe hare. His nose looks as if it could twitch at any moment. Cammy finds a blue feather. Could a blue jay be near? Yes, but unfortunately, a goshawk found it as prey. As the children come upon a small, dark cave, William grabs his sister’s arm. There are old bones lying on the outer ledge. “Who’s been here?” A family of bright red foxes and an angry woodchuck are staying here. They continue on around the ledge and find something stuck to the rocks – a perfect mud dauber’s nest, complete with a big black dauber. Leaving the rocks, William and Cammy enter a field of wood lilys. Cammy sees a stalk with no bloom on top. “Who’s been here?” A deer must have had the bloom for breakfast. The woodland ferns in this particular illustration are so beautiful. The children continue along the path towards home. They come upon a basket and blanket lying on the grass. “I wonder who’s been here?” William asks. “But Cammy knows…Mom and Dad!”

     This is a terrific nature book and I would recommend it for children 18mths-5. 

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