Allegory
Allegory

This is a picture book but not your typical picture book.  It is not a book young children would enjoy having read to them.  The illustrations are black pencil drawings.  There is nothing bright and cheery about this book.  Despite all this, I do value and appreciate the book.  Terrible Things is based on a quote from a Holocaust survivor who spent years in a concentration camp. 

In this book there is a “Terrible Thing”  that comes into the forest to destroy all the creatures with feathers.  The animals don’t always see the Terrible Thing right away, but they know it is coming because they can hear the heavy footsteps.  These footsteps are much like the heavy boots of the German soldiers. The Terrible Thing’s big net catches them all as they try to flee.  None of the other animals are worried since they don’t have feathers.  They do miss the bird’s beautiful songs when they are gone.  A little rabbit questions the reason the birds were taken, only to be told not to question the Terrible Thing.  One after another the animals are caught in the net when the Terrible Thing comes for them.  Finally, there is only one little rabbit left, who hid very still for a long time.  He leaves to try to warn animals in other forests about the danger.  He feels sad the animals did not stick together to help each other.  The book leaves us with a bit of hope and a question … will the other animals in the far away forest listen?    So, why do I like this book which is so dreary and sad?  It tells a sad part of history in a way that children can understand and discuss without having to deal with the more difficult issues involved.  It provides a great introduction to a Holocaust Lesson.  
The art, as I mentioned earlier, is black and white pencil drawings.  You never see the Terrible Thing but you do see a shadow.  The illustrations give a dark,sad feeling to the book which helps to tell the story. 
This is a small book with an important story for the audience.  
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