Monday, November 5, 2012

MMGM NW Authors: Wildwood by Colin Meloy and Illustrated by Carson Ellis

About The Book: The first book in the epic middle-grade fantasy series full of magic, wonder, and danger—nothing less than an American Narnia—from Colin Meloy, lead singer of the highly celebrated band the Decemberists, and Carson Ellis, the acclaimed illustrator of the New York Times bestselling The Mysterious Benedict Society.

First Line: How five crows managed to lift a twenty-pound baby boy into the air was beyond Prue, but that was certainly the least of her worries.

Love This Line: “As she walked, she breathed a quick benediction to the patron saint of sleuthing. "Nancy Drew," she whispered, "be with me now.”
Carson in her studio.

Illustrator: Carson Ellis   
Twitter: @cfellis

Carson Ellis was born in 1975 in Vancouver, Canada. She was raised in suburban New York and college-educated at the University of Montana in Missoula, where she earned a BFA in Painting in 1998.

Carson has been a babysitter in New York, a hot dog vendor in California, a chairlift operator in Vermont, an artist's model in Montana, and a cocktail waitress in Minnesota. These days she is happy to be an illustrator in Oregon, providing art for such bestselling books as The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, The Composer Is Dead by Lemony Snicket, and Wildwood by Colin Meloy. Additionally, she is the illustrator-in-residence for the band, The Decemberists, and has created art for their album covers, t-shirts, websites, posters, and stage sets. Each fall she teaches a free twelve-session drawing workshop for teenagers at the Portland Art Museum.

Carson lives in Portland with her husband Colin, son Hank, and Window the cat.

What Others Have Said: "Meloy has created a tale that combines fantasy, an eco-fable, and a coming-of-age story. Have the book available so listeners can peruse Carson Ellis's fantastic illustrations that perfectly capture Meloy's fantasy world." —School Library Journal

"Sometimes things get almost too Portlandy, as though the characters from the brilliant TV satire “Portlandia” have gotten lost in Narnia. Picture Fred Armisen squinting from behind his glasses as he smugly informs the killer coyotes that he’s actually, you know, a pacifist." —New York Book Review

What I Thought:
     Where to start?  I put off reading the book, mainly because I'm a slow methodical reader (it's 560 pages). Then after reading the first page I knew this would be a book that I would pause and reread sentences just to hear the music, so again I put it off. This book is not only lyrical at times, I hear music crescendoing off the page. It didn't surprise me...after all the author is Colin Meloy vocalist and songwriter of the Decemberists

I love the "Impassible Wildernessthat Meloy creates and the fact that it's just outside Portland. The animals and adventures are tangible enough to make me wonder if "IM" actually exists. The breadth of the story brings on a sense of a timeless classic. I thoroughly enjoyed Prue and all the quirky Portland-like characters. (Of course, I'm a huge Portlandia Fan.) I suppose it could have been a bit shorter, but then again, I'm not sure what I would have cut. I recommend this great NW read as the perfect read-aloud to kids, boys and girls! It will have them begging for one more page, please?

 About The Author: Colin Meloy
Book Website
EW Author Interview
Twitter @colinmelo

Colin Patrick Henry Meloy (born October 5, 1974) is the lead singer and songwriter for the Portland, Oregon folk-rock band The Decemberists. In addition to his vocal duties, he plays acoustic guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bouzouki, and percussion. As of 2005, Meloy has written a 100-page book on The Replacements' fourth album, Let It Be, released as part of the 33⅓ series.

Meloy was born in Helena, Montana. His sister is Maile Meloy, an author often published in The New Yorker. He first attended the University of Oregon before going to the University of Montana, where he majored in creative writing. He then moved to Portland, where he met future bandmates Jenny Conlee and Nate Query. Prior to being in The Decemberists, Meloy was the lead singer and songwriter of Happy Cactus and Tarkio, both indie/folk bands from Montana. —Goodreads

The Sequel Under Wildwood  was just released in September 25th!

Can't really talk about the book without sharing some great songs by the Decemberists...
After you have enjoyed the below videos you have got to check out the other MMGMers in my  sidebar who all have some awesome reviews for you.

I will be featuring NW middle grade authors over the next several weeks. Here's a peek at what's coming up...

Memoir: Something To Hold by Katherine Schlick Noe 

Fiction Novel: The Ring of Leilani by Annie Crawford

Memoir: Animals Welcome by Peg Kehret

Nonfiction: Camp Out! by Lynn Brunelle

Historical Fiction Novel: Pebblehoof by Jason Black

Lastly, a shout-out to Cafe Solace, a local NW small business, who's running a Movember Special to support prostate cancer. Check it out here.


  1. I really enjoyed the setting too Pam. Good choice for a review.

  2. This book has such a great cover! I am definitely very interested in reading it. The description is excellent and I really enjoyed your review.

  3. High, mezzo forte (Italian: medium loud). So what if you're fifty? Does it reeelly matter seeing as we have 77ish years of our finite existence??? Not. Take anything and everything you wanna from our wonderful, plethora of thot to write the next great masterpiece -if- I can but kiss your gorgeous, adorable feets in Seventh Heaven and cuddle withe greatest, human being ever to arrive in the universe. Think about it. Get back to me Upstairs. God! Blessa! Youse! -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL -Love you-


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