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Wildwood #readingchallenge

wildwood, colin meloy, decemberists, carson ellis, kids books, children's literature
“Wildwood” by Colin Meloy, the first in a trilogy of children’s books

Welcome to Book two of my reading challenge, where I aim to read a book a week (that’s 26 books) by New year 2018.

This weeks book was “Wildwood” by Colin Meloy, the first is a trilogy of children’s books (aimed at 9-11 year olds). Based in Portland- a place I’d love to visit, and written by the front man of the alt Folk band the Decemberists- a band I love to listen to and have seen live, this book has been on my want to read list for a while.

Colin Meloy, frontman, The Decemberists
Colin Meloy (far left) with his band members The Decemberists

Not only was I intrigued by this book because of the author, but also because it is illustrated beautifully by the magical “Carson Ellis” who happens to be Meloy’s wife, an illustrator who I have loved and followed for a few years now.

Colin Meloy (author) and Carson Ellis (illustrator) and husband and wife team.
Colin Meloy (author) and Carson Ellis (illustrator) husband and wife team.
Illustration by Carson Ellis for "Wildwood"
Illustration by Carson Ellis for “Wildwood”

So, what’s the book about? From the website :

Prue McKeel’s life is ordinary. At least until her brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, a dense, tangled forest on the edge of Portland. No one’s ever gone in—or at least returned to tell of it.

So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend Curtis deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater, as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

I did enjoy this book, I think it is a great story and a world where you can get lost in, the age range (9-11 year olds) is perfect, and although I think this book can be enjoyed by adults it is definitely aimed at children, and would be a great book to read together with your child at bedtime a chapter a night or to listen to together on audio book for example.

The story looks at lots of complex themes such as the role of government, war, family relationships and friendship and it does not shy away from the realities of these often traumatising events but yet explores them in a way that is safe for children using the realm of magic and fantasy.

You can definitely see Colin Meloy’s love of folk law and fairy stories, this book could easily be transformed into a Decemberist’s song and Carson Ellis’s whimsical illustrations fit perfectly with the magical and folky theme of the novel.

As this was a book for children I don’t know if I would rush to read the others in the series, I might, like I say, wait until my own child is a bit older and share the experience of reading them with him, but saying that I did enjoy reading this book as an adult even though it is not something I would typically read.

All in all I give this book 3/5 not because there was anything wrong with it, but more because although enjoyable, it was for younger readers, and was not written in the same way as say “Harry Potter” is written where it can fully transcend age and be really appreciated by all ages.

Let me know If you’ve read any of the books in my reading challenge, and what you thought! If you are reading along check out my next book:

“Hag-Seed” by Margaret Attwood, a re-telling of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and find out what I thought next Monday.

Happy Reading Everyone!

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Next weeks read 
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