Thursday, October 27, 2011

Out of the Woods

Title: Out of the Woods
Category: Fantasy
Grades: 4-7
Author: Lyn Gardner
Illustrator: Mini Grey
Publisher: David Fickling
Date: 2009
Pages: 350

Storm and her sisters find themselves once again caught up in an adventure they’d rather have avoided in this sequel to Into the Woods.  A beautiful woman arrives at Eden’s End, claiming to be the girls’ new stepmother and insisting that their father has died.  What they do not know is that really she is an evil witch determined to have Aurora’s heart in order to remain young and beautiful.  To make matters worse, the magical pipe which Storm threw into the sea has found its way back to her and tricked from her by the witch and her baby sister, Any, has been turned into a frog.  In the struggle over the heart, Aurora herself is killed, leaving Storm despondent until a strange message from the Underworld leads her down into death itself.  Racing against time, Storm must find a way to rescue her sister and her mother from the Underworld and trap the pipe there forever.  Along the way, she will encounter several old enemies, who will stop at nothing to thwart her mission and return to the land of the living in her place.

Gardner’s writing is not unlike that of Roald Dahl, with that touch of wry, zany humor and a slightly tongue-in-cheek approach that leaves readers surprised constantly with what will happen and makes sure that children are always the good guys.  Out of the Woods is as stuffed with allusions and fragments of folklore as its predecessor, as well as the strong theme of family ties that is realized even more fully in this second installment.  Full of action, adventure, and humor, Out of the Woods  is another whirlwind ride that upper elementary children will delight in. 


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