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Suddenly in the Depths of the Forest Hardcover – March 21, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 1260L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (March 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547551533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547551531
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,038,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A thinly veiled threat hangs over the heads of the people in Maya and Matti�s village. All the animals disappeared decades ago, and it is rumored that anyone caught outside at night by Nehi the Demon will be spirited away to his dark castle high in the mountains. With the timeless pluck of child heroes, Maya and Matti ignore warnings of the forest�s dangers (�Every bush could be plotting to trap you. Every rock might be hiding something that is not a rock behind it�) and set out to find what happened to the animals. They don�t find the demon they�re expecting, however, but rather a reflection of the injustice of creating outcasts in one�s community and a message of tolerance to bring back home. In this swiftly moving fable (originally published in Israel in 2005), Oz creates palpable tension with a repetitive, almost hypnotic rhythm and lyrical language that twists a discussion-provoking morality tale into something much more enchanting. For an enhanced experience, try reading this delicately eerie story aloud. Grades 4-7. --Ian Chipman

Review

"From the whispered tales of a local monster to the brash, spunky heroes on a quest, internationally acclaimed Israeli author Oz litters his story with fairy-tale tropes that give this narrative a fable-like quality; the atmosphere is intriguingly secretive and shadowed, but the prose is measured and accessible and the length manageable....There is plenty to discuss here, making it a useful classroom companion when tackling issues of historical and contemporary conflicts." —The Bulletin

"It's through Matti and Maya's willingness to challenge everything that Oz channels hope."—Publishers Weekly


"Oz creates palpable tension with a repetitive, almost hypnotic rhythm and lyrical language that twists a discussion-provoking morality tale into something much more enchanting." —Booklist


Praise for Suddenly in the Depths of the Forest from the UK: "If you're a reader... you'll be prepared simply to be enchanted. You'll recognize no one, and see only yourself." —The Guardian

"Both a children's fable and an allegory for adults. It may be a fast read, but it has enormous resonances." —The Independent

Praise for Rhyming Life and Death:

"From the prodigious Oz comes a delightfully elusive...story of imagination, talent and the transitory nature of fame...Stamped with Oz's charm and graceful skill in creating rich characters, this is a must for any fan." —Publishers Weekly

"Hilarious and profound, Oz’s tale of a mischievous taleteller ponders the eroticism of stories and the mysterious ways language and literature bridge the divide between inner and outer worlds; and it helps us make some sense, however gossamer, of life and death. A slyly philosophical novel." —Booklist


More About the Author

Amos Oz was born in Jerusalem in 1939. He is the author of fourteen novels and collections of short fiction, and numerous works of nonfiction. His acclaimed memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness was an international bestseller and recipient of the prestigious Goethe prize, as well as the National Jewish Book Award. Scenes from Village Life, a New York Times Notable Book, was awarded the Prix Méditerranée Étranger in 2010. He lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Customer Reviews

A young reader needs to know there IS something better, and there was too much of a shrug and a maybe at the conclusion of this story.
Portianay
I enjoyed this brief tale, and think it conveys an interesting message, although I think it's up to the reader whether the message is positive or negative.
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
And so one day the two set off into the depths of the forest and up the mountain and there, suddenly.... This is a morality tale with a message.
Israel Drazin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Keymer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Forest is a minor work by a major writer, Israeli author Amos Oz. As you would expect from a writer of Oz's caliber, the book reads well from the start: "Emanuella the Teacher described to the class what a bear looks like, how fish breathe, and the kind of sounds a hyena makes at night. She also hung pictures of animals and birds on the classroom walls. Most of the children made fun of her because they'd never seen an animal in their lives. ... Silently and sadly the village lived its simple life." That passage sets the tone for the book, which describes a town with no, literally no, animals -not a dog or cat, or rat or mole, or fish or butterfly or moth. They all disappeared one night years ago and now it is so long ago that the children of the town think talk of animals is nothing but a fairy tale for them to giggle over. The villagers fear the forest around them, and lock their doors and shutter their windows at night for fear of ... who knows what, but it's bad.

Then two children see something in a stream in the woods -a quick glint, something moving through the water. So far the book is near perfect, a sweet, melancholy prose poem about separation from the other creatures who share our earth, our fellow passengers. There is a lovely passage about the relation we should be cultivating with other creatures which ends with these words: "After all, no one here has another boat."

The two children -friends--decide to brave the forest to find out where the animals have left, and why. And from this point, alas!, the novel's message becomes muzzy and weaker than it could have been. For as much as the piece has a message, it is that we shouldn't ridicule or shame others, human or animal.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Israeli writer Amos Oz's charming little story opens in a village entirely without animals. A few older inhabitants, such as Emanuella the teacher or Almon the Fisherman, still remember what dogs, cats, and goats looked and sounded like, but people treat their memories with unconvinced indulgence. Almon, of course, is no longer a fisherman because there are no longer fish to catch; he spends his days talking to his scarecrow, even though there are no birds to scare away. No woodworm, either, to send him to sleep with the sound of their gentle chomping on his furniture. One night, all the animals suddenly disappeared, taken up presumably into the dark forest-clad mountains surrounding the village. The inhabitants lock their doors securely at night, for Old Nehi the Demon is liable to come prowling and snatch children away, as he has already taken the animals.

One child does disappear into the forest: Little Nimi with the gap between his buck teeth and the snot hanging out of his nose, who was never really part of the other groups of children, though eagerly tagging along behind. Little Nimi, who disappears one day only to come back three weeks later, whooping like an owl but insanely happy to be going his own way. Which was all very well, since of course he could not go back to school with his whoopitis, or even to his home. Two other children, Matti and Maya, also stay a little apart from the others, because they share a secret: that once, in the depths of a very narrow pool in the river, they saw a small, silvery, but very live fish. One day, Matti and the even bolder Maya decide to go up into the forest to see for themselves; the second half of the book tells of what they found there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Portianay VINE VOICE on April 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Oz's prose is simply too beautiful to downgrade him to two stars, but this book is a yawner, otherwise. It is listed as suitable for upper elementary, but I know very few children that age, or even teens, who would stick with it long enough to get to the point. By the end, I myself felt as if "the point" had never been reached.
It took way too long for any action, as such, to take place, and there was never true resolution, just... despair, I think. I am not a fan of handing a child a book and saying, "Here, this is good for you, because like sucks, and this portrays life like that."
Sorry; not my cup of tea. A young reader needs to know there IS something better, and there was too much of a shrug and a maybe at the conclusion of this story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By tvtv3 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In an unnamed village in an unnamed country, the people there live an isolated existence. Many years ago, when most of the adults of the village were children themselves, all of the animals in the village disappeared. The adults know why this happened, but they never speak of it. Only the local school teacher, Emanuella, and the one-time fisherman, Almon, ever speak about the animals and mimic the sounds they once made. There is one child in the village, Nimi, who became lost in the forest a few years ago. Nimi was an orphan and a bit "different", but when he finally returned to the village, he appears wild and crazy, running through the town's paths whooping like an owl. From that moment on, most of the town ignores Nimi the Owl Boy and warn the other children that if they don't obey or wander off into the woods, Nehi the Mountain Demon will either snatch them away like all the animals or turn them into something like Nimi. However, there are two children in the village who begin to question what most of the adults tell them: a young boy named Matti and his best friend, a young girl named Maya. Matti tells Maya that sometimes at night he can hear the cry of animals and they sound just like Emanuella said they did. One day the pair sees a fish in the river. However, it's not until both of them see a moving tree that they decide to travel into the woods and discover what actually lies within.

The writing in SUDDENLY IN THE DEPTHS OF THE FOREST is eloquent and beautiful. The book is a short one, but instead of a novella or short story, it reads more like a long and continuous poem. Through this lovely language, the author also sets a constant mood and tone which are just as impressive as the beautiful words that are read. These are the strengths of the book.
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