Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Review: The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles De Lint

By: Charles De Lint
Illustrated by: Charles Vess
Published by: Little Brown Kids
Released on: March 5th, 2013
Source: book from the publisher to review
4 Stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The magic is all around you, if only you open your eyes....

Lillian Kindred spends her days exploring the Tanglewood Forest, a magical, rolling wilderness that she imagines to be full of fairies. The trouble is, Lillian has never seen a wisp of magic in her hills--until the day the cats of the forest save her life by transforming her into a kitten. Now Lillian must set out on a perilous adventure that will lead her through untamed lands of fabled creatures--from Old Mother Possum to the fearsome Bear People--to find a way to make things right.

In this whimsical, original folktale written and illustrated throughout in vibrant full color by two celebrated masters of modern fantasy, a young girl's journey becomes an enchanting coming-of-age story about magic, friendship, and the courage to shape one's own destiny

I am a huge fan of fair- tales and folklore. There's something exciting about these stories, especially Folktales. I've always been fascinated by Folktales, as they always seem to have a rich history to them that I find enticing, and highly engaging. These are stories that are full of possibilities, lessons learned, and have an element of realism to them. In essence, folktales are exciting to listen to, and read about.

Charles De Lint's The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is an unforgettable folklore brimming with magic, extraordinary creatures, and filled with adventure.

Lillian's incredible journey begins in the heart of the wooded area behind her Aunt's farm. Like many adventures, this one teaches young Lillian a lesson. Her story is one about choices, consequences and making things right. One of the things I liked about Lillian, is her sense of adventure, her fearlessness, and her willingness to make sacrifices. Lillian is a character who grows up a lot on her quest for answers, and once she finds out the truth, I loved that nothing was going to stop her from doing what she had to do, to make things right again. Right, but not completely how they were. As Lillian learns, nothing can be exactly as it was before, and I liked that parallel with real life.

Along her journey Lillian meets a lively cast of unforgettable characters. One of my favorites was the Fox. He made the perfect side kick to Lillian in both her cat form and her little girl form. I also loved the Opossum Witch, who teaches Lillian some important lessons about her choices. There are plenty of other magical creatures that readers will enjoy meeting as they journey with Lillian on her quest for answers.

This story's setting was magically enticing. I love a setting that is out in the outdoors, and this story's setting is an timeless one. Sparse farms, a wild wood, and the possibility that lies beyond the middle of the woods. Have you ever walked through the woods and in the heart of it wondered what lies beyond that? De Lint takes readers through the heart of Lillian's woods and introduces them to a world where the impossible is possible. This story's setting is more than just that. It plays a huge role in Lillian's journey and I love it when a story's setting is it's own character as well.

Charles De Lint and Charles Vess are a match made in children's literature heaven. This exciting folk fantasy adventure would not be complete without it's enchanting illustrations. De Lint and Vess have crafted together such an lovely book that you could easily enjoy reading the story for itself, as you could looking through the Vess's whimsical illustrations by themselves. Vess captured De Lint's perfectly. The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is a book I'd recommend to fans who enjoy a story that mixes together different mythologies, and creates an original fork-tale that teaches it's readers a lesson or two as it takes them on an unforgettable adventure.

Please go HERE to check out some of Charles Vess's amazing artwork.
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~