Into the Woods by Lyn Gardner was originally published in Great Britain by David Fickling Books (2006) and recently launched in North America. Filled with cartoon-like images, the large, hardcover book is certain to keep the interest of young readers. Humorous scenes, character names (such as Snufflebottom, Dr. DeWilde and Mrs. Bee Bumble) and situations are amusing and entertaining.
The story opens with two parents who are so in love that even the birth of their
three daughters can not tap into their world. Twelve-year-old Storm is surprised when her 16-year-old sister announces that their mother, Zella, is pregnant. Poor Zella dies soon after giving birth, and their father, so involved in his
own grief, is oblivious to his children. When asked what the new child’s name should be, he replies, “Anything.” Anything is no ordinary child, but then neither
are the wild and tempermental Storm or their older sister, Aurora,
whose position in the family encourages her obsession with neatness, education and cooking.
Storm inherits a magical musical instrument from her mother, and this plain-looking pipe is about to get her into all kinds of trouble. Storm has no inkling of her parent’s life prior to their marriage and is shocked to find out that there
are a number of people seeking and scheming for the powerful pipe. Trust and courage are tested again and again as Storm and her sisters try to stop a scheme that would supply a steady stream of slaves for evil means.
Elements of classic children’s tales, including The Pied Piper and Rapunzel among others, is sure to evoke both humor and nostalgia for the readers. Into the Woods could be classified as a fantasy family fiction and might be a good book for the animated film industry to consider. Mini Grey created the images and illustrations on the cover and those found throughout the 340 pages of this book.
I did not see any comments on the website for the author or publisher, nor did I find any information on the book itself, regarding the recycling content of the book. Because of this I would normally dock a half-star from my review. However, because the book closes with a recipe and encourages
young readers to explore cooking, I have decided not to lower the rating for this book. I
am also pleased to see that the author chooses to embrace diversity and uniqueness through each of her characters.