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The Tin Forest

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  631 ratings  ·  80 reviews
In the middle of a windswept wasteland full of discarded scrap metal lives a sad and lonely old man. In spite of his gloomy surroundings, he dreams every night of a lively forest full of trees, birds, and animals. When he finds a broken light fixture that looks like a flower, his imagination is sparked. He begins to build a tin forest, branch by branch, creature by ...more
Hardcover, Modern Gems Edition, 28 pages
Published October 5th 2006 by Dutton Books (first published December 1st 2001)
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Vrushali Khot It is quite simple and easy to understand so maybe 2.5 and up.…moreIt is quite simple and easy to understand so maybe 2.5 and up. (less)

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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  631 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Claire - The Coffeeholic Bookworm
My kids and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The Tin Forest tells a story of a man living on his own, dreaming of that place where plants and animals live in harmony and beauty. But all that was just a dream, as he had nothing else but trash and junk and objects he gathered as years passed.

One day, he finally started to create a forest that's made of these things and soon, a bird happened to visit his place. Such was the joy the old man felt, but also got disappointed and sad when the bird went
May 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story, sweetly told with engrossing illustrations that are magical and yet almost ugly at times in perfect keeping with the garbage-metal world the man lives in at first. This book manages not to be overt with the environmental message—but it's certainly there, so if that sort of thing annoys you then probably this book will, too. However, I think that it's almost more about being imaginative, about having dreams and going after them—most of all, it's about making lemonade from lemons ...more
Yasmin Marsden
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The illustrations beautifully represent the contrast between sadness and hope. The small piece of hope given to the man from the visiting bird, allowed his dreams of a real forest to grow.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book because there is some really interesting vocabulary used and many hidden meanings within the text. I like how the author has taken some familiar words and put them into a different context which makes the reader question why the author has chosen to do this. I particularly like the illustrations and the concept of a light bulb being illustrated as a growing idea (like a plant) and how it grows shoots and sprouts out. The colours used are quite interesting because they ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Would pair well with Uno's Garden and Here comes the Garbage Barge. Normally I read these books during Earth Day, however, every day should be Earth Day!
Tim Hackbarth
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Tin Forest is a children's book with a deeper message. It is about a man who yearned for a different world than the one he had. He built a forest out of the trash around him and found joy in the process. It is a book about taking ownership for the environment. It is also a book that teaches adaptability and forethought. The pictures are very engaging and the text is simple. I would use this as part of an environmental unit or with a child that was feeling helpless about their situation. It is ...more
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Really, this is such a delightful book that I almost wish I'd never given another 5 star review so this one would stand out. I love everything about this book. I love the story and how this wonderful old man brings beauty out of the ashes (aka garbage). I love the font that was chosen and how it is gray and not black, adding to the soft dignity of the book. I absolutely LOVE the illustrations, the detail and the use of color. I got this from the library but I'll be ordering my own copy tomorrow. ...more
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-picture
This is a delightfully sweet book with great life lessons. I loved the story by Helen Ward as well as the illustrations by Wayne Anderson. As a person who loves to make welded sculptures out of junk metal, this story is just close to my heart. This is a great book to teach children to dream, to be artistic and to make the best out of your situation. As they say, when life gives you too many lemons, make lemonade. I highly recommend it to parents as a way to spark many conversations!
Jan 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This wonderful picture book is for anyone who has hope and believes that there is a way. Or for those who believe that our world is without hope and so why care...
When I got to the end of the book my heart felt warm and my hopes were stoked. The illustrations are fabulous. Good read for Children and adults.
Davonna Juroe
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a very magical picture book about an old man who dreams of planting a forest in a very desolate place. Beautifully told, and I highly recommend this to those who love an enchanted story filled with gorgeous artwork. Five stars.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
The dreams of this old man are powerful indeed. My two, four and six year olds were drawn in and eager to see what each new page would bring. Well written with kind and gentle verse, beautifully illustrated and wholesome.
Ellie Labbett
The Tin Forest reads like a fable, telling the story of an old man living in a desolate jungle of cast away rubbish, trying to make good of unwanted, forgotten objects. With no nature around him, the man dreams of a colourful forest alive with life, something that seemingly could not be further from the metal wasteland where he spends his days. That is, until an idea sparks, and a new type of forest begins to form.
This feels like a story that is more relevant than ever in the current crisis of
Becci Riley
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school
I loved this book and so did my Year 3/4 class. It was my first experience of a narrative immersion and, as ‘Dream Givers’, we used inference and retrieval to figure out what ‘the man’ wanted and whether he deserved his ‘dream’ to be granted. The illustrations are fantastic and give lots of opportunities to ‘read the picture’ and make predictions and deductions. This book has so many opportunities for big questions such as: What happens when you achieve your dreams? Should you ever give up ...more
K.S. Thompson
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The story is quite simple, but the lessons contained within are quite valuable. It's important to see the potential beauty in all things and also that it is possible to make your dreams come true, if at first the solution is not quite what you expect.

The illustrations are beautiful and sure to capture the imaginations of everyone who is lucky enough to come upon this book. It would make a lovely gift that will certainly be enjoyed and remembered for years to come. I look forward to passing it
Natalie Whitby
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pema Brunet
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful and enchanting children's book that my 5 year old brought home from the school library. He was so excited to read it himself and the pictures are truly stunning. The sense of place is deep and the language thrilling to a small child. A desolate lonely wasteland it transformed into an exotic paradise from a single seed of hope when a real bird visits a bird model that an old man has made out of junk. The theme is of hope, renewal and creating something that our hearts truly desire.
Erin J.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this little gem to my 4 children many times. It's so magical and has a good message too.

Surrounded by garbage a lonely little man learns to see the beauty is his surroundings.

The illustrations are amazing, the story is simple and easy to read. I've purchased copies for my nieces and nephews and it's in our weekly reading rotation around here.
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
How did he make that tin forest? And I don't know if that little plant that we saw on the first page (or the second page) made that tin forest. Then all these animals start appearing, like tin lions and tin toucans. It's sort of like the rain forest. (And I've been to the rain forest with my Magic Friends, so I know lots about the rain forest.)
Lucy B
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful picture book that follows the journey of an old man who wished for a real forest. The story has fantastic pictures which increase in colour and animation as the story continues and as hope grows. An enjoyable, emotive and easy read which I would highly recommend.
Muhemed Masika
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The wind is making you shake
The oil is on the dresser
Use a towel
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was awesome. It reminded me of a book my friend Remy would love. I liked the concept. It reminds me of The Lorax a little. I want to read it again!
Rebecca Yager
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magical and imaginative children's story, gorgeously illustrated.
Catherine Anna
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lovely story with fantastic images. Great story to read with children and fabulous to discuss and use as a writing prompt.
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, 2019
Cute picture book. Might be good for a recycling themed story time. Cute illustrations. Sweet tale.
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quite an abstract read, would be good for KS2. Nice concept and illustrations.
Aileen Miller
Jul 24, 2019 rated it liked it
V. Pretty artwork but the story is pretty bland.
Good read with environmental issues - 4*
Catherine Harris
Ideal for writing opportunities, different writing purposes, links to sustainability
Rosa Mitchell
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read this today with my Year 3 class and they absolutely loved it. They loved pointing out the writing features like onomatopoeia, alliteration and repetition for effect as we read and also spotted the illustrations were emphasising important parts linked with the story. A perfect story to read alongside the Iron Man and The Wild Robot to get them fully embedded thinking about metals and magnets.
Grace Abwooli
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Tin Forest, by Helen Ward, tells the story of an old man who lived in what is described as a, "wide, windswept place, near nowhere and close to forgotten, that was filled with all the things that no one wanted." Every day, the old man clears away the garbage, "sifting and sorting, burning and burying." Every night the man dreams of a beautiful world full of plants and animals, but every day he awakens to the same dull grey world. One day, the old man decides to build the world that he dreams ...more
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Helen Ward won the first Walker Prize for Children’s Illustration and twice won the British National Art Library Award. She has also been short-listed for the 2003 Kate Greenaway Medal. She lives in Gloucestershire, England.
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