Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles Book I

by Colin Meloy
illustrated by Carson Ellis
Balzer + Bray | August 30, 2011

Prue McKeel has a little brother called Mac. One day, while she's watching him in their Portland, Oregon neighborhood, a murder of crows swoops down and steals him away. So she follows the birds into the Impassable Wildness followed by Curtis, a boy from school nobody likes much. Soon, Prue and Curtis separately discover different aspects of a magical land called Wildwood, complete with talking animal inhabitants, a convoluted political system, and a long history of demonizing the human world.

Meloy is the lead singer of the band The Decemberists. Although I don't know his music, I'm told fans of it will recognize some of Meloy's artistic sensibilities in his first book for children. Meloy is married to Ellis, and she is the artist behind the wonderful illustrations for The Mysterious Benedict Society series. The art for this book is equally as amazing, and Balzer + Bray really did a nice job with the design. The book includes hand-drawn end papers with a full map of Wildwood and six astoundingly beautiful full-color plates. Black and white full page and spot illustrations appear throughout the book, as well. The trim size  - 8 inches by 6 inches - makes the book thick and heavy and a pleasure to hold in your hands. 

This is the first in a planned series called The Wildwood Chronicles. Book two is due out in September 2012 and is called Under Wildwood. Recommend this to your fantasy-loving friends and anyone who likes a good adventure tale.

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