The trees of Southcrop have made a striking discovery-one that could change the world for all their kind. But they are trapped in a forest fragment and face destruction from human sprawl. They cannot spread their new-found gift across the land.Then Auja, a young oak, finds little Fur amongst her branches. Fur is a legendary creature not seen for a thousand years, a single intelligent being emerged from a colony of caterpillars. Fur is small and meek and slow, but can travel through the forest and talk with trees. Auja persuades the reluctant Fur to help.Fur embarks on a desperate quest to find the source of all tree power-the mysterious Riverside Farm. Here he must gather the trees' great treasure and carry it across Oak River to the forests of Deep Sky.Fur's long trek is fraught with peril as he races to reach Riverside Farm before it is destroyed. Ghoulish enemies hunt him while machines wreak their deadly havoc. Yet Fur's journey is one of enlightenment as he learns about the ecology of his world, the threat of the human species, and finally, the secret of his existence.
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A delightful tale with a strong message. Cycles of life in the forest told in a friendly way. How every species on earth depends on another and what that means. Lorne Rothman has produced an ecological and timely tale for all ages. The characters draw the reader in immediately. Little Fur, a colony of tent caterpillars hatched in an oak tree in Southcrop Forest, becomes the lifesaving hero of the plot, under the guidance of Auja, the oak tree. As Fur says, "I'm we" and "we're me", the colony thinks and moves as one. The forest is dying of disease and deforestation, eradicated by the "hewmen" with their giant machinery to make way for development. A lot of information is in this book and told in a form that allows us to learn about the non-human world around us through this entertaining fable.These particular tent caterpillars are from very ancient stock called "Runes", which have not put in an appearance for 1,000 years. They have helped the forest in the past and must do so again. Replenish the soil and bring it back to its previous health so the trees can flourish again. The extent to which environment and habitat are dependent on each other to survive the toxins in the air, the changes in the weather patterns, as well as the lack of coordination with human life is demonstrated so well. There are also a number of endnotes that are very helpful.The trees of Southcrop Forest have developed a form of communication with the Runes and with each other, a network through leaves and roots. Through this process they are able to direct the Runes to the "Southcrop Farm" where they will be given what is needed to take to the most important Forest at Dark Sky, giving the Runes the necessary information to bring back the balance and future of the devastated forests around them. The concept of the story and the flow of information through dialogue is wonderful and at the same time very insightful.more
I've always been interested in stories with non-human characters. I have an idea to write a story one day about a city - not the people in it, but the city itself, as a living character with its own actions and motivations. Trouble is, I'm not really sure where to start.So I was intrigued by this book, in which the main characters are trees. Trees can't move around or do very much, so how could a whole novel be written about them? Well, Lorne Rothman manages it, and it works very well.The premise is that Southcrop Forest is on the verge of destruction, as humans clear the land for urban sprawl. The trees can't do anything about it, not being able to move and all, but they do want to preserve the things they've learned over the last few millennia, most importantly "Southcrop Vision", the ability to see and share experiences throughout the forest. To do this, they need to contact the larger forest to the north, and the only way to do it is via a colony of tent caterpillars that calls itself Fur.Fur travels on a quest through the forest, faces a series of challenges, as all good questers do, and in the process he learns about the ecology of the forest. The learning part is clearly important to the author (who has a PhD in zoology and has studied ecology at various Canadian universities), and the book has 84 footnotes giving the scientific basis for various elements of the story. I found this a bit odd in a work of fiction, but there was some interesting stuff in the footnotes, and you can always ignore them if you just want to read the story.Because of the educational aspect and the fairly simple writing and plot, I think this would be an excellent book for younger readers. As a not-so-young reader, though, I found it charming and very enjoyable - and most importantly, it was very different from anything I've read before. A heavily footnoted eco-fantasy novel where the main characters are trees and the hero is a colony of tent caterpillars is not the sort of thing you come across every day, and I found it very refreshing.more
This novel is about the trees of Southcrop Forest, a forest in crisis. Reduced to little more than a forest fragment, they are hemmed in on all sides by human sprawl. There is a great feeling of despair, for the trees know that the end is inevitable.Auja, a young oak tree, finds a unique being within its branches. Fur is not your average caterpillar. It is a kind of group-mind being consisting of over 240 separate entities, not seen in Southcrop Forest for the past thousand years. Auja persuades a reluctant Fur to undertake a harrowing journey.The trees of Southcrop Forest have made an earth-shattering discovery for their kind. Fur is to carry that treasure to a mysterious place called Riverside Farm. It involves crossing the Oak River to the Deep Sky forests. The trees talk to Fur through a form of telepathy, and help Fur as much as possible.At one point, Fur is attacked by birds and bugs who use caterpillars as hosts for their eggs. Fur survives, but loses a number of its members. Trying to cross a human road, more members of Fur are flattened by car tires. Fur also encounters patches of crawler plague, a disease that is absolutely fatal to caterpillars. Fur is under a huge time constraint of its own. Being a caterpillar, the compulsion is growing to find an appropriate spot, spin a cocoon, turn into a moth and fly to the sun.Almost at its goal, the few members of Fur who have survived the journey are caught by a human child, and left in an airtight jar in the hot sun. Fur is eventually released, and has lost even more of itself. Along the way, Fur learns about ecology, the threat from mankind and about its own existence.Perhaps it is time to consider starting a new genre of fiction, "stories written from a non-human perspective." This is a first-rate story that will get the reader looking at their local forest or stand of trees in a whole new way.more
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