I rarely pick up books I have never heard about, but recently it has worked out well. I saw this book a few years back in the awesome children's book section at Moe's Books in Berkeley and was so in love with the illustrated cover! I am really drawn to quick children's chapter book series, like Series of Unfortunate Events, so discovering Wildwood seemed like a good one to dive in. I found it again a few weeks ago at Strand Books in Manhattan and picked up- IM SO GLAD I DID!
Colin Meloy, the author, is the lead singer of the band The Decemberists, and wrote this novel, accompanied with the illustrations by his wife, Carson Ellis. BEAUTIFUL DUO! The inside has a full page thick illustration every 50-100 pages or so, so intricate and move the story along in such a specific way. There are a few that I want framed as prints in my house! Its the first installment in a trilogy (although not sure if all three follow the same main character or just the mysterious setting in general).
I really love this age of books when the main character is this daring and intelligent kid who is stuck in a world of adults who are passing her/him off as ignorant or naive when that totally isn't the case. There is something so youthful and charming about mocking adults in a hidden way that is such a relief to dive into. Its like holding up a mirror to all the silly motions we get stuck in.
The story follows Prue, a 12 year old adventure seeking girl living with her family in Portland. All is seemingly normal until her baby brother is kidnapped by a flock of crows and taken away to the dark forbidden forest! Her classmate and her go on an adventure so unique and memorable, I was up all night giddy and inspired reading it. The cast is so specific; wolves dressed in british military jackets and owls sitting in grand libraries, just to name a few. I was talking about this book for weeks, its like The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe gone Portland with The Smiths as the soundtrack, and yes, I am patiently waiting for it be picked up as a blockbuster film.
"My dear Prue, we are the inheritors of a wonderful world, a beautiful world, full of life and mystery, goodness and pain. But likewise are we children of an indifferent universe. We break our own hearts imposing our moral order on what is, by nature, a wide web of chaos. It is a hopeless task.” ― Colin Meloy, Wildwood
I HIGHLY suggest this book to all readers, 12 year-olds and all included. It was such a beautiful, adventurous break to dive into, I wish I had a kid to geek about it with during and after reading it. I think as readers, we get caught up in what we should be reading or seen reading, that we forget that books that are 'lower level' aren't worth it but I totally disagree. Wildwood is such a perfectly crafted book, I cant wait to dive in the last two!