Mischief in the Forest: A Yarn Yarn, Derek Jensen, ill. Stephanie McMillan (PM Press/Flashpoint Press) $14.95
I expected a lot from Mischief in the Forest, having enjoyed Jensen and McMillan’s first collaboration immensely. Their As the World Burns: 50 Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial (Seven Stories Press) somehow managed to avoid cynicism through over one hundred pages of the most depressing ecological facts—like, for example, that if every American did everything Al Gore recommends in An Inconvenient Truth it would only be five years before corporate emissions canceled that effort out entirely. And despite a little romanticism of Mother Nature, the book was funny, with real narrative thrust. That’s what Mischief in the Forest is missing. Though a beautifully produced book, illustrated in McMillan’s simple, likable style, the plotline meanders too slowly, without enough action.
The story is about a grandmother who knits her grandchildren scarves at her cottage in the forest. The grandmother goes to visit her grandchildren in the city and returns to find her yarn missing. Turns out the animals took it and hung it through the forest. Grandma’s not lonely anymore. When the grandkids visit she introduces them to her new friends the animals. The end. Jensen’s writing is simple, too, written with whimsical economy but without enough happening. This book tastes delicious and its ecological lesson is an important one, but the cake could have been iced with a more compelling narrative.
Baby Gus turns one this 13 November. He lives in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, where he is doted on and shits wherever he wants.