The Friday Book Review: The Wildwood Chronicles.

The Friday Book Review. In this section, posted on a Friday (and I know I’m early, I’m just keen!) I want to bring to your attention some of the brilliant books I have come across. They might be old, new, a great story or fantastic illustrations- but in my opinion they are all great and they are all  for children.

Todays book is ‘The Wildwood Chronicles’ by Colin Meloy and illustrated by Carson Ellis. Published by Canongate Books. It is a couple of inches thick and is one of those chapter books that crosses easily between childrens and adult fiction.

This book is epic. The book tells of how Prue, a girl, witnesses her baby brother being snatched and carried away by a murder of crows. She gives chase and sees them disappear into the Impassable Wilderness, where no one ever goes. The following day she sets off to get him back. An unwelcome school friend  joins her and this is the story of their adventures. But it is so much more.. the world they encounter is beautifully imagined, and described and so well thought out. The writer and illustrator are a couple, and  they had imagined this world between them, long before Meloy wrote it. The illustrations are beautiful. A mix of full colour pages, small black and whites and some silouette illustrations, they just add so much to the text. The illustrations are painted in watercolour with some dip pen. Ellis uses quite a muted, limited palette with brighter colours here and there which really draw the eye in. I love how she uses loose washes combined with detail, she gets a great feeling of depth in her illustrations. As you can tell I really like this book. Best of all it gave you that  feeling that all great books give you, where you have been utterly lost amongst its pages, and can’t stop reading it or thinking about it, but suddenly the end is in sight and you have to try to eek out those last pages. I felt quite bereft when I’d finished it. Thank heavens there is a sequel, not out yet here, called ‘Under Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles, Book 2’. Check out the beautiful animated video on their website.

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