The US Review of Books


The Doughty Warriors: It’s Our Forest Too
by Brenda Broster

reviewed by Wendy Strain

"'We must help the animals.' They stumbled down the escarpment to the valley below. 'Get to the road,' he shouted. The fire was crackling, flames roaring, the trees snapping. The noise and the heat were terrible. The smoke was suffocating."

Written for younger chapter book readers, this is a wonderful story about the power of children to overcome some of the greater challenges adults struggle with. Naturally accepting each other for who they are, the children have no need to overcome diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds as they come together over a common cause, to save the forest that makes their home so special.

Facing an apparently insurmountable foe—the evil palm oil baron who dreams of converting the entire country over to plantations—the children band together and enlist the help of their communities, their religious orders, and the greater global community in an attempt to protect their precious forest and the people and animals that call it home.

Ranging in age from six through roughly twelve, the children lead much of the action following their reaction to a deliberately set forest fire. Including information about the diverse and fascinating characteristics of the animals that live in these forests as well as the value of many of the plants and trees, it is an adventure into important environmental concerns as well as the power of teamwork no matter what age you might be.

Beginning with a forest fire and the rush to save as many animals as possible through to the closing pages when the children finally learn whether their efforts were in vain, the story is well-paced and imaginative. While it doesn’t cross over any magical boundaries, there is a sense of the mysteries of life revealed when one is more in tune with nature. Overall, an enjoyable story with important lessons for us all.