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*Out of the Woods* by Lyn Gardner- young readers fantasy book review
Also written or illustrated by Mini Grey:

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Out of the Woods
by Lyn Gardner
Ages 8-11 368 pages David Fickling Books April 2010 Hardcover    

In this sequel to Into the Woods, Lyn Gardner pairs up once again with illustrator Mini Grey to create a fanciful tale loosely based upon familiar fairy tales and myths.

Aurora, Storm and Any Eden are “practically orphans” - their mother has died and their scattered father is always off searching for dragons. The story begins with Kit (who fell in love with Aurora in the first book) as he catches a fish that swallowed the Pied Piper’s pipe, which rightfully belongs to Aurora’s sister, Storm.

Meanwhile, the evil witch Belladonna is determined to take Aurora’s heart, but the magical rules state that it must be given to her willingly. From here on out the adventures never stop as the witch tries numerous ruses to gain the trust of the girls and gain not only Aurora’s heart but also Storm’s powerful pipe.

Several times throughout the book, the sisters are separated from each other and their dear friend Kit. Any turns into a frog, and each is close to death’s door as the non-stop action carries the story through to the Underworld, where the girls meet their deceased mother and their mortal enemy from the first book, Dr. DeWilde.

Best read after the first book, overall Out of the Woods is a delightful fantasy filled with fairy tale allusions and characters which capture the reader’s heart and imagination. The relationship between the sisters is endearing as they are all committed to “the three of us alone, the three of us together. Forever and for always.”

The exciting settings are delightfully illustrated by Mini Grey, sparking the imagination and adding to the fast-paced nature of the story. British author Gardner uses a number of terms which American readers will need to decipher in context. In addition, the fairy tale, myth and other literary references (such as the witch’s Dorian mirror) may be difficult for young readers to recognize.

Nevertheless, the humor of this whimsical story accompanied by the imaginative plot grabs the reader’s attention and connects us to the endearing characters for a fine, fantasy adventure.

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  Kristine Wildner/2010 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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