Wildwood, by Colin Meloy, with illustrations by Carson Ellis

Wildwood. Colin Meloy, with illustrations by Carson Ellis. Book Review: Prue McKeel can barely believe it when a murder of crows absconds with her baby brother—so who would believe it if she told them? There's nothing to do but follow the crows into the Impassable Wilderness just outside Portland, Oregon, to steal back her brother and rescue him from whatever fate awaits him in the woods [Black and white image shows a child held aloft by the talons of crows, being carried away far above a woodland scene where a girl stands, waving her arms next to a fallen bicycle]. This story is the start of a series, and a pretty fascinating one so far. Prue, and her classmate Curtis, who follows her into the woods, face horrific dangers and discover magical wonders in the secret country hidden in the Impassable Wilderness. The tone is dreamlike and eerie—it makes for great bedtime reading. The denizens of the Wood and their politics and military alliances were well thought out and well described, though I found Colin Meloy's focus on military uniforms and their associated vocabulary, of which he has an apparently vast knowledge, a little distracting [Image shows a civil war style military uniform: a hat, tunic with shiny buttons and belt buckle, and pants].

Good for: Kids (and up) who enjoy eerie fantasy in which magical realms appear out of familiar landscapes, and especially those tales in which all the grownups are evil or ineffectual. Also, Civil War re-enactors.


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