The Forest — By Riccardo Bozzi, Illustrated by Violeta Lópiz and Valerio Vidali — From Enchanted Lion Books

“The vibrant forest and its creatures peeking through the die-cut eyes of the barely visible faces remind us that the human role in nature is not that of conqueror or king but of humble witness and passing visitor."

— Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

"Using the forest as a metaphor for life, this book will engage ecologically-conscious readers in a visual and sensory exploration of the human story.

From the book’s velum skin jacket to the last blank pages, we are invited to dwell with the universal mystery of life. Defying any particular dogmatic approach, its contents embrace all.

For those willing to explore the book with the wonder of a child, each page turn will have you not only going deeper in the forest, but also witnessing the passage of time.

Bozzi’s writing captures an openness and a sense of mystery which, when paired with the book’s actual physicality, may have each forest explorer come to see their lives anew, renewed, and renewable."

Lori Horbas, Boswell Book Company (Milwaukee, WI)

"Uncommonly beautiful...the sheer marvel of the design, together with the inclusive, open-ended mystery of what lies beyond the forest, makes this a wondrous piece of bookmaking for all ages."

— Starred Review - Publishers Weekly

"Like pretty much every title published by the small, independent Enchanted Lion books, it is a gorgeous, singular, unimprovable book...Somehow The Forest is a work of art that escapes feeling like an 'art object' — it succeeds in being for children.

Rivka Galchen, The New York Times

"As a book / object / artwork, this is just NUTS. And beautiful."

— Simon Armstrong, Book Buyer at Tate Modern

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2018

Ages 4 and Up

The Forest is an allegorical view of human life as an exploratory journey through an ancient forest. And, it is much more. It is a book for all ages and for the ages, as it is one of those books you give as a gift keeps giving...for years. 

It is a lyrical book that also is a magnificent visual work, both painterly and a technical feat of paper engineering. Here, sensory experience and the textures of the material world are rendered through die-cuts, embossing, cutouts, and a single gatefold. 

From its sumptuously colored vellum jacket to its final, mysterious blank white spread, this uncommonly beautiful book invites readers to marvel over both its daring design and enigmatic messages.

The Forest was written by Riccardo Bozzi, illustrated by Violeta Lópiz and Valerio Vidali and translated from Italian by Debbie Bibo. 

Author Bozzi’s minimal text walks readers through “an enormous, ancient forest” where “explorers” travel an increasingly difficult journey.

On alternating spreads, subtly embossed images, faintly visible against white pages, show the maturation of a human face from baby to elder, while die-cut eyes reveal startling glimpses of the wild, bright forest in the scenes that follow.

Young children may miss some of the metaphorical links to a life’s passage, extended in astonishing visual details and dramatic gatefolds. But the sheer marvel of the design, together with the inclusive, open-ended mystery of what lies beyond the forest, makes this a wondrous piece of bookmaking for all ages

Much like a poem, it will evoke new emotions and layers of meaning with repeated readings.


Format: New, Hardcover

Published: June 5, 2018

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

ISBN: 978-1-59270-218-3

Pages: 72

Dimensions: 8.5" inches W x 10.5" H x .75" inches D

Weight Before Shipping: 1.8 pounds

Rating: ★★★★★ 



Author Riccardo Bozzi is a journalist and has worked for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera since 1990. He is the author of The World Belongs to You, illustrated by Olympia Zagnoli and Cher auteur, illustrated by Giancarlo Ascari and Pia Valentinis.


Violeta Lopiz is a Berlin-based Spanish illustrator. In addition to The Forest, she has illustrated numerous books including Amigos do Peito, and Les poings sur les iles , which received the CJ Picture Book Award 2011 in the New Books category.

She has participated in exhibitions in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Israel, Turkey, USA, Japan, Korea, and more. El Cultural, the supplement of El Mundo, considers her one of the top ten names of contemporary Spanish illustration. Her work can be found in bookstores, streets, fairs, newspapers, and the thousands of notebooks that she leaves scattered around.


Valerio Vidali is an Italian illustrator of children's books. His book Jemmy Button, co-authored with Jennifer Uman, was selected by the New York Times as one of the 10 Best Illustrated Books of 2013.

Enchanted Lion Books

The Publisher

The Forest was published by Enchanted Lion Books. We love them, and they can share their vision, mission, raison d'être in a much more articulate way, as I usually as reduced to "Ooooh!" and "Wow!"

"Enchanted Lion Books is an independent, family-owned publishing company based in Brooklyn, NY. We opened our doors and published our first list in spring, 2003. We love books, well-told stories, and illustrations that open up the visual world and deepen a child's sense of story.

We publish illustrated books from around the world, convinced by the power of cultural exchange to inspire curiosity, awareness, and wonder in children everywhere. We reach across time and oceans to find new authors and old treasures to share with a new generation of readers.

We select the books that we publish with great care. We seek out those that we believe children will enjoy and that reflect an individual voice or vision.

We live with the books we publish long before they go to press, and we share them within our communities. We also sleep with many books under our pillows, and we publish the ones that invade our dreams.

We believe in the books we publish because they are beautiful and lively, thoughtful and full of feeling. They evince a fierce belief in the imagination, exploring the inner world as richly as the world around us.

Our books explore the feelings and imaginative lives of various animal and human characters, but they also travel out into into northwest Pakistan, China during the Cultural Revolution and the Levantine world during the golden age of Arab science.

We have published books from authors and illustrators in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland and the US.

Books allow us to explore worlds long before we travel and long after. We therefore seek to give children books that will help them feel that this world we share, with all its surprising, wonderful complexity and beauty, is home

As we all know, books help children to cross all kinds of boundaries and borders long before they begin to grasp the world through actual travel and experience.

We thus take as our task that of connecting young readers to the wonderfully diverse modes of expression that exist in the world, so that in the end they will feel that the whole world—with all of its wonderful, surprising and very real similarities and differences—is their home."