Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on March 5th 2013
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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.
Lillian is a girl that reminded me of myself, in love with old tales of fairies and magic. When she falls asleep one day beneath a tree, she is bitten by a snake and the cats of Tanglewood Forest turn her into a kitten to save her life. The only problem is she is not happy to be a kitten instead of a little girl and seeks out a way to change back.
What she finds is that turning back into a little girl may mean a worse fate for her dear Aunt, who takes care of her and is her only family in the world. Lillian must now find a way to save her only family. But what is she willing to give up to save her Aunt. Through this journey, Lillian learns more than any little girl about what it means to be human.
I loved the illustrations in this novel, enough that I am putting this one on my "to buy" list. I have always been a fan of De lint's storytelling and paired with Vess's illustrations, I felt completely transported into the story. I felt that I was Lillian, trying to save my only family while wanting to keep my true human form if possibly. The creatures and characters that Lillian meets are out of a fairy or folk tale and I love the imagery used throughout the story.
Final Verdict: The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is a fantastical read that will transport you to Lillian's world – filled with magic and unbelievable characters.