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Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles, Book I by…
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Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles, Book I (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
717None13,121 (3.6)32
Member:Eglawren
Title:Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles, Book I
Authors:Colin Meloy
Other authors:Carson Ellis (Illustrator)
Info:Balzer Bray (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 576 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Novel - Modern Fantasy

Work details

Wildwood by Colin Meloy (Author) (2011)

  1. 20
    The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (cdcottam1)
    cdcottam1: Both works are beautifully mystical and fantastical! Wildwood has many of the fantastical themes of Narnia without the blatantly religious undertones while still containing good moral lessons.
  2. 10
    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (Mav.Weirdo)
  3. 10
    Coraline by Neil Gaiman (DieFledermaus)
  4. 10
    The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (derelicious)
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» See also 32 mentions

English (59)  German (1)  All languages (60)
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
Terrific fantasy set mostly in Widlwood, a fantastical world outside Portland, OR, across the Impassable Wilderness, starring Prue and Curtis, and an assortment of talking animals, heroic bandits, etc etc. Delightful ( )
  DavidO1103 | Apr 3, 2014 |
Elements of this title were very similar toThe Chronicles of Narnia and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Talking animals, an evil queen and a battle for magical land are just a few of the familiar whimsical touches included. Despite moments of prolonged meandering, the overall plot is captivating, held together by perilous twists, creative characters, and a backpack full of Portland-culture references. The intricate illustrations breathe splendor and life into the land of Wildwood, detailing the aesthetic blend of historic and mystical. The audiobook however was very disappointing. Amanda Plummer's narration lacks all luster and suggests she has never read out loud prior to this recording. Her inflection varies between indifferent and confused, completely distracting from the story. (This title was used for my Fiction Chapter Book Review. These comments served as the rough draft.) ( )
  LibbyHopfauf | Mar 18, 2014 |
i have read a little a bit of the book i enjoyed a little of the book the book is a mystrey type and really intresting the first chapter is about crows and her baby brother ( )
  samirrocks | Jan 7, 2014 |
When eleven year-old Prue takes her baby brother Mac to run some errands in their hometown of Portland, OR, crows sweep in and kidnap Mac, taking him to the “Impassable Wood” at the edge of the Willamette River. Drawing on many classic normal-girl-ventures-into-extraordinary-world stories like The Wizard of Oz and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, The Decemberists singer and songwriter Colin Meloy (with help from his wife, illustrator Carson Ellis), creates a enjoyable, if not terribly original world within Wildwood.
Brave Prue decides to rescue her brother and is subsequently followed by classmate, Curtis, who offers his help in saving baby Mac. Not soon after they enter the Wood, Curtis is captured by talking coyotes in military uniform, and taken to the mysterious, beautiful and potentially dangerous Dowager Governess, Alexandra. Prue continues on her adventure with a ride from postman Richard and is taken to South Wood to get help finding her brother. She encounters many roadblocks in her search for Mac, meets Bandits, mystics and a bird prince named Owl Rex. Her parents prove to be basically useless, which isn’t surprising for this sort of tale of fantasy, but it’s disappointing nonetheless. How can two dopes create such an empowered kid? Hopefully one day, Meloy will explain this phenomenon.
Colin Meloy’s whimsical work in The Decemberists make his move to writing children’s book a natural one, although one might hope that he’ll create a novelisation about a young man battling his mortal enemy in the belly of a whale. ( )
  ARQuay | Dec 11, 2013 |
Bought this for my niece and then I started reading it myself, go figure.

Enjoyable. Loved the illustrations, and the storyline moved along. But this read more like a very familiar mashup of some of my favorite childhood stories rather than its own standout. As I was reading, I was thinking of Witch and the Wardrobe (without the symbolism), Robin Hood, Brer Rabbit and so on.

Reasons this book is easily spotted as a hipster-magnet, or at least a book born of two hipsters:
1) It's set in Portland.
2) The main character, Prue, is a preteen, but she knows how to change her own bicycle wheel. Psssshhh.
3) The language is often too large for the subject
4) The adjective I'd use to describe the book = whimsical

I feel bad writing it, but when I think of this book, "cute" comes to mind. Probably not the best compliment. I don't think this would have made it without the illustrations by Meloy's wife, Carson Ellis. Well done, Ellis. If I was OK with defacing books (which sadly, I'm not), I would tear out a few of the plates and frame them.

PS. Did anyone else notice all of the typos? I could definately tell where the publisher was skimping on costs. Yikes. ( )
  Caitdub | Oct 24, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
Folding elements of real-life Portland into the story, Meloy lovingly describes the jungles to the north and the cobbled streets and elegant tree houses of the more civilized south. The result is a richly satisfying weave of reality and fantasy.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Meloy, ColinAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ellis, CarsonIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Plummer, AmandaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For Hank, of course
First words
How five crows managed to lift a twenty-pound baby boy into the air was beyond Prue, but that was certainly the least of her worries.
Quotations
"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."
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Book description
From The Publisher: Prue McKeel's life is ordinary. At least until her baby brother is abducted by a murder of crows. And then things get really weird. You see, on every map of Portland, Oregon, there is a big splotch of green on the edge of the city labeled "I.W." This stands for "Impassable Wilderness." No one's ever gone in-or at least returned to tell of it. And this is where the crows take her brother. 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 bigger as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood. Wildwood is a spellbinding tale full of wonder, danger, and magic that juxtaposes the thrill of a secret world and modern city life. Original and fresh yet steeped in classic fantasy, this is a novel that could have only come from the imagination of Colin Meloy, celebrated for his inventive and fantastic storytelling as the lead singer of the Decemberists. With dozens of intricate and beautiful illustrations by award-winning artist Carson Ellis, Wildwood is truly a new classic for the twenty-first century.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 006202468X, Hardcover)

Product Description
Prue McKeel’s life is ordinary. At least until her baby brother is abducted by a murder of crows. And then things get really weird.

You see, on every map of Portland, Oregon, there is a big splotch of green on the edge of the city labeled “I.W.” This stands for “Impassable Wilderness.” No one’s ever gone in—or at least returned to tell of it.

And this is where the crows take her brother.

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 bigger as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness.

A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

Wildwood is a spellbinding tale full of wonder, danger, and magic that juxtaposes the thrill of a secret world and modern city life. Original and fresh yet steeped in classic fantasy, this is a novel that could have only come from the imagination of Colin Meloy, celebrated for his inventive and fantastic storytelling as the lead singer of the Decemberists. With dozens of intricate and beautiful illustrations by award-winning artist Carson Ellis, Wildwood is truly a new classic for the twenty-first century.

A Wildwood Playlist by Colin Meloy & Carson Ellis

"Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin

Colin Meloy: I remember reading an interview with Evan Dando from the Lemonheads right around the time the first Lord of the Rings movie came out, bemoaning the fact that the director hadn’t included a single Zeppelin song in the movie. I tend to agree; I mean, how rad would it’ve been after that dramatic ending in The Return of the King, with all its royal celebrations and slo-mo montages—the screen goes black and those monster riffs of “Immigrant Song” kick in? Mind-blowing. So much incredible music in the 60s and 70s was directly fueled by mid-century fantasy fiction, something that Wildwood owes much to; I feel it would be deeply remiss here not to include a little Zepp.

"Marching Song" by Esben and the Witch
Colin Meloy: That said, when I was deep in my preadolescent reverie of fantasy and sci-fi, my friends and I would meet every weekend at someone’s house to play Dungeons & Dragons. There. Confession made. And as everyone knows, the best Dungeon Masters always partnered up their biggest action scenarios with music. While I think it may have been de rigueur to blast Zeppelin or Hawkwind for some folks, I considered myself to be somewhat of a sophisticate. Joy Division was perfect music for a slow, suspenseful crawl through a gelatinous cube-infested grotto. The Legendary Pink Dots added an extra dimension to a party’s first encounter with some weird, reclusive nemesis in a castle tower. An Enchantress might appear to “Under Ice” by Kate Bush or anything from Siouxsie’s output. When I first heard this song from Brighton, England’s Esben and the Witch (even the name is evocative of those days) I imagined a new generation of over-imaginative ten-year-olds pairing their fantastical ramblings with the drowning rains and empty plains of this song.

"Take It Easy" by Hopeton Lewis
Colin Meloy: Switching gears, here. Rocksteady, a kind of precursor to the reggae explosion of the 70s, was a beautiful, thoughtful, random amalgam of classic R&B and traditional Jamaican rhythms. It’s clearly the kind of music that is birthed out of necessity; a bunch of poor kids in the slums of Kingston figuring out for themselves how to re-create the sounds that they were hearing over crappy radio speakers: Sam Cooke, Ben E. King, and Sam & Dave. And what came out wasn’t quite the same, but beautiful and weird and extraordinary in its own right. All this to say: I think that rocksteady music is the music of true enjoyment, the aural equivalent of a slice of bacon, and a rocksteady party was the kind of party I imagined Prue’s parents would throw to celebrate Mac and Prue’s joyful return. And I’ll bet that Prue’s dad dug deep for some Lewis sides—maybe he even had them on 45.

"Tam Lin" by Fairport Convention
Colin Meloy: My 60s Brit Folk obsession is fairly well documented, but I thought I’d be remiss if I didn’t include an old folk song in this list. This one, in particular, features a forbidding forest and an evil fairy queen and a pair of star-crossed lovers. Clocking in just north of seven minutes, it’s as immersive and complete a narrative as a song can hope to retell.

"Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri
Carson Ellis: I love Sibylle Baier’s mournful songs and I listened to them a lot when I was working on Wildwood, especially during the rainy months. Portland winters can be dreary and sometimes gloomy music is the best thing for them. This isn’t my very favorite song of hers, but I chose it because, you know, the title.

"I Lost Something in the Hills" by Sibylle Baier
Carson Ellis: The intensity and focused passion of this song makes me think of my darling Jack, along with the references to heaven and hell, a favorite theme of his.

"My Lovely Elizabeth" by S.E. Rogie
Carson Ellis: Wildwood has a lot of illustrations—85 in all—and it was hard work getting them done. Man, I love to draw but at times this project was exhausting. At times it was downright grueling. Fortunately, I have some remedies for this: taking a walk always helps, as does yoga, as does S. E. Rogie.

"Katie Cruel" by Karen Dalton
Carson Ellis: This is a spooky traditional song that dates back to the Revolutionary War. Like Wildwood’s villainess, Alexandra, Katie Cruel roams the forest and the “bogs and mire,” jilted and in exile. This is a good song to listen to while walking in Forest Park, the real woods that were the inspiration for Wildwood’s Impassable Wilderness. Or while walking in any misty, quiet forest where beards of moss hang from the gnarled branches of dead trees and there’s little sign of civilization. You can imagine that around any bend you might find the solitary hut of Katie Cruel, a little curl of smoke drifting up from its chimney and the sound of her high lonesome banjo coming from within. I also love this song’s beautiful, totally unhinged chorus:

Oh that I was where I would be,

Then I would be where I am not,

Here I am where I must be

Go where I would, I cannot.

"Over the Hills and Far Away" by Led Zeppelin
Carson Ellis: I’m a longtime Led Zeppelin fan and this song, in addition to having a fitting title, was another one I loved when I was Prue’s age. I first heard it around the time I read The Hobbit, and I thought its medieval vagabond vibe was awesome. I’m also a sucker for a song that starts with a pretty guitar part and then gets crazy. As an adult I tend to like Zeppelin’s earlier, bluesier stuff better but, as a kid, I loved the Middle Earth-ish stuff and “Over the Hills and Far Away” was my jam.

A Look Inside Wildwood
Click on the images below to open larger versions. (Art copyright © 2011 by Unadoptable Books LLC.)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:48 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When her baby brother is kidnapped by crows, seventh-grader Prue McKeel ventures into the forbidden Impassable Wilderness--a dangerous and magical forest in the middle of Portland, Oregon--and soon finds herself involved in a war among the various inhabitants.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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