Book Review: The Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root

Book Review: The Mysterious Woods of Whistle RootThe Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root by Christopher Pennell
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 10th 2013
Pages: 224
Buy on Amazon

A book much like the mysterious, inviting woods it describes. Step in to find friendship, magic, and surprises.

A little girl who can only sleep during the day grows from something of an isolated town oddity to the heiress of an ancient legacy of magic and music.

Exquisitely illustrated, this gentle, satisfying young fantasy is filled with unforgettable, quirky characters and imagery. A perfect read-aloud, it shows how one can find friends in the unlikeliest of places--windowsills, rabbit burrows, the library.

Debut author Christopher Pennell casts a spell with his irresistible adventure while illustrator Rebecca Bond's pen-and-ink drawings perfectly capture this atmospheric world and contribute to the feel of a timeless classic. Step into the mysterious woods of Whistle Root and feel the magic.

I love books like The Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root, that have the right formula of scary and adventure all wrapped in to one. I also loved the musical aspect of the book, as our main character Carly meets a rat playing the fiddle on her roof one night. She's an unusual girl already, who cannot seem to sleep at night no matter what and falls asleep constantly during school. What she finds out is that the wonderful, harmless music-playing rats are now disappearing into the claws of the owls, who used to enjoy their music.

Carly must help figure out why the owls are now attacking the rats and how to stop them before all of the musicians are killed. With the help of another somewhat strange boy at school, they adventure out into the woods to find out how to save their friends and family. Having an unfinished copy, I thought the illustrations were cute but obviously will be fine-tuned before the final book comes out. I loved the story and the setting with the Whistle Root Woods and the story behind it.

I also love that a lot of this book took place in a school library. Part of the adventure was finding the old stories of how the Whistle Root trees came to be and what it was that was changing the woods once again. As a lover of fantasy and adventure, I thought this book was the perfect mix, especially great for upper elementary readers.

Final Verdict: Definitely a book I would recommend for lovers of fantasy and short enough to capture the attention span of a 4th or 5th grader, but may be a little too kiddish for middle grade students.

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