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Children's Fiction City & Town Life

The Night the Forest Came to Town Read-Along

by (author) Charles Ghigna

illustrated by Annie Wilkinson

read by Christian Down

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Oct 2018
City & Town Life, General, General
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2018
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 5
  • Grade: p to k
  • Reading age: 3 to 5


From dusk to dawn a forest creeps into a town where the grown-ups are too distracted to notice. But the children do.

They see greenery take root in the lifeless cracks of dull sidewalks. They see an eagle build her nest atop a forgotten fountain and saplings start to sprout in dark corners. A gray-drab city defined by concrete and steel, vibrations and notifications, transforms into a living garden where apartment buildings overflow with window boxes full of flowers, birds sing songs through day and night and children laugh and tend to their gardens. Watch as nature reclaims this town.

About the authors

Charles Ghigna's profile page

Annie Wilkinson, the youngest of eight children and the mother of two, was raised in Saskatchewan. She works in a variety of mediums including traditional and digital, creating bright and whimsical illustrations for both books and products. She also has a background in design and as a fine artist, two skills that she calls upon quite frequently when illustrating. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Annie Wilkinson's profile page

Christian Down is a producer, musician and voice actor from Victoria, British Columbia.


Christian Down's profile page


  • Long-listed, The Nature Generation Green Earth Book Award
  • Short-listed, Chocolate Lily Book Awards - Picture Books

Editorial Reviews

"This story is visually stunning, refreshing in its simplicity, and will no doubt become a 'Can we read it again?' favourite among readers of all ages."

BC BookLook

"I loved this little picture book…The illustrations are whimsical, detailed, and perfect for the story…The rhyming text is cute and I think this would make a wonderful read aloud."

Carol's Notebook blog

"An exquisite poem cleverly illustrated to evoke feelings of wonder and awe…Highly recommended for both public and school libraries as well as a gift for preschoolers and young elementary school aged children. It is a delight to read aloud at Story Time. The language is age appropriate with just enough variety of words to inspire curiosity and to expand vocabulary. The drawings invite contemplation."

Resource Links

&quotBeautifully illustrated…A great read-aloud for primary students.&quot

Canadian Teacher

“Ghigna's smooth, rhyming verse is effectively complemented by Wilkinson's illustrations, which show the town first gray, then deep purple in the night, and finally in glorious, multicolored bloom come morning.”

The Horn Book Online

&quotThe combination of poem and art will appeal to young children who can study the detail in the illustrations while listening to the narrative. Highly Recommended.&quot

CM Magazine

"Written in perfect rhyme that is enriched by whimsical, vibrant illustrations, this book pulls the reader into the magic it is about to weave… Nature reclaimed this town and its residents will never be the same. I loved the book and highly recommend it."

Storywraps Blog

"The rhyme and rhythm of Charles Ghigna’s poetry and the wonder of nature shown in impeccably rendered digital artwork are worthy of celebration and close observation."

Sal's Fiction Addiction blog

"With vibrant and engaging illustrations, this picture book sings the story of a paved parking lot returning to a paradise…Ghigna's rhythmic and rhyming couplets narrate the miracle with the respect and drama of a professional bard…The multicultural faces make this a good choice for preschool and early-elementary shelves, especially in settings that prize a connection to nature."

Kirkus Reviews

"This captivating story will hook young readers from the opening lines, enchanting them with its lyrical text and evocative illustrations. Ghigna employs rhyming quatrains to brilliant effect, conjuring up bewitching images with his skillful use of poetic devices and sensory detail ('whispered echoes roam,' 'hallowed hush of twilight,' 'beneath the veil of twilight's blush'). Reading aloud his beautiful lines amplifies the magic."

Jama's Alphabet Soup blog

Other titles by Charles Ghigna

Other titles by Annie Wilkinson

Other titles by Christian Down