Books Kids Fiction The Cats of Tanglewood Forest

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest Featured

http://www.yabookscentral.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x275s/3f/41/0f/_the-cats-of-tanglewood-forest-charles-de-lint-1352748347.jpg
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
520   0
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
8+
Release Date
March 12, 2013
ISBN
0316053570
Buy This Book
      
On a quiet day, when the wind was still, the creek could be heard all the way up to where the old beech stood. Under its branches cats would come to dream and be dreamed. But they hadn't yet gathered the day the orphan girl fell asleep among the beech's roots, nestling in the weeds and long grass. Her name was Lillian Kindred.

When Lillian is bitten by a poisonous snake while napping under the branches of a beech tree, the magical cats of the forest reveal themselves and save her by turning her into a kitten. Now she must set out on a journey that will lead her through an untamed wilderness full of fabled creatures--from Old Mother Possum to the fearsome Bear People--to find a way to make things right and become human again. In this whimsical, original folktale created by two masters of modern fantasy, a young girl's journey becomes an enchanting coming-of-age story about friendship, bravery, and shaping one's destiny.

Set in the countryside north of de Lint's fictional town of Newford--the setting of many of his most beloved novels--this book is a new novel-length story for middle graders based on the author and illustrator's picture book A Circle of Cats.

Editor reviews

What I Loved:
Usually, I don't talk much about the physical book itself in my reviews, but I have to spend some time on just how incredibly breathtaking The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is. As you can see from the cover, the illustrations are beautiful. My only quibble with Vess' artwork would be that his people look a bit creepy at times, but he excels at other animals and nature. All throughout the book, his illustrations appear in full color and it's worth taking time to really look at them. As an added bonus, if you remove the dust jacket, there's a different illustration underneath, and it's beautiful as well. Everything about the packaging of this book is beautiful.

The movie The Aristocats includes a song called "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat." Turns out that's not true. Young Lillian is out wandering the forest near her home one day when she gets tired and settles down to a nap. While she's sleeping, a poisonous snake bites her. As she's laying there dying, the wild cats of the forest come upon her and decide, at the risk of angering the Father of Cats, to save this girl who leaves milk out for them. The cats have magic, as much in the forest does. They turn her into a kitten, which sets her on a journey to recover her girl body and to do so with her life just as she left it (minus the snakebite).

Unsurprisingly, the non-human animals really steal the show. My personal favorite is the fox, T. H. Reynolds, a very fine and upstanding gent. Though naturally a predator to kittens, he becomes Lillian's ally in her quest. He's funny, sly, and completely adorable. I love that the animals all work together, but retain their individual natures, not really coming across as particularly anthopomorphized, but more like the reader can now understand their way of communication.

One of the main themes woven neatly throughout The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is that of being kind to those in the world around you. Lillian leaves extra chicken feed out for the undomesticated birds, milk out for the wild cats, and biscuits out for the Apple Tree Man. She doesn't do this in expectation of help, but, in the end, her generosity earns her help when she needs it. Lillian's trusting nature and kindness are what make her capable of achieving her happy ending. De Lint gets this message across without any sort of preaching at all.

The Final Verdict:
Whether the story itself interests you or not, it's worth picking up a copy for the gorgeous illustrations, and you just might find yourself sucked into the story as well. This is an excellent story to read with younger children or for middle grade independent readers.
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0

A Must for Animal Lovers

What I Loved:
Usually, I don't talk much about the physical book itself in my reviews, but I have to spend some time on just how incredibly breathtaking The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is. As you can see from the cover, the illustrations are beautiful. My only quibble with Vess' artwork would be that his people look a bit creepy at times, but he excels at other animals and nature. All throughout the book, his illustrations appear in full color and it's worth taking time to really look at them. As an added bonus, if you remove the dust jacket, there's a different illustration underneath, and it's beautiful as well. Everything about the packaging of this book is beautiful.

The movie The Aristocats includes a song called "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat." Turns out that's not true. Young Lillian is out wandering the forest near her home one day when she gets tired and settles down to a nap. While she's sleeping, a poisonous snake bites her. As she's laying there dying, the wild cats of the forest come upon her and decide, at the risk of angering the Father of Cats, to save this girl who leaves milk out for them. The cats have magic, as much in the forest does. They turn her into a kitten, which sets her on a journey to recover her girl body and to do so with her life just as she left it (minus the snakebite).

Unsurprisingly, the non-human animals really steal the show. My personal favorite is the fox, T. H. Reynolds, a very fine and upstanding gent. Though naturally a predator to kittens, he becomes Lillian's ally in her quest. He's funny, sly, and completely adorable. I love that the animals all work together, but retain their individual natures, not really coming across as particularly anthopomorphized, but more like the reader can now understand their way of communication.

One of the main themes woven neatly throughout The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is that of being kind to those in the world around you. Lillian leaves extra chicken feed out for the undomesticated birds, milk out for the wild cats, and biscuits out for the Apple Tree Man. She doesn't do this in expectation of help, but, in the end, her generosity earns her help when she needs it. Lillian's trusting nature and kindness are what make her capable of achieving her happy ending. De Lint gets this message across without any sort of preaching at all.

The Final Verdict:
Whether the story itself interests you or not, it's worth picking up a copy for the gorgeous illustrations, and you just might find yourself sucked into the story as well. This is an excellent story to read with younger children or for middle grade independent readers.

Was this review helpful to you? 
 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.

Already have an account? or Create an account
 
Powered by JReviews

LATEST YABC BLOG POSTS - BLOG TOURS, ANNOUNCEMENTS, AND GIVEAWAYS

View more blog entries

Latest Book Listings Added

Category: Young Adult Indie
You're Stormy Jones, a pregnant 17-year-old punk rock chick with "sky eyes" and a pink tipped blond Mohawk with spear...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
NEWNokosee Front CoverMorePix.jpg
Category: Young Adult Indie
Cultures clash, sparks fly, love blooms, people die, and two kids, one a little bit punk and the other way...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Indie
Rayne is bored with life, until a new family moves in next door. Why do they look so happy? Rayne...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
James Patterson introduces the best selling "illustrated fiction" format to teens! It's "Middle School" for high schoolers! In James Patterson's...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Everlong Cover 2 Amazonprint.jpg
Category: Young Adult Indie
When love is a matter of life and death, it's not about losing your heart, but saving it. On...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Alissa Sullivan has high hopes that the new year will bring a fresh start for her and her best friend....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Alissa Sullivan has got it made -- a supportive, loving family, a cause she believes in, and her new boyfriend....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Alan Rivers wakes up one morning and discovers all the adults in his neighborhood and worldwide are in a deep...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally....
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Experience the wonder of the river in this haunting debut novel, where family is lost, friends are found, and hope...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Post tornado, the Soccer Tommies and Baseball Mommies compete for home field advantage. Is it ‘Win-Win’ or, will the community...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Two years ago, sixteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Like watching a movie frame by frame, we watch Lexi is come unglued in this novel in verse. She's alienated...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Winner of Reader's Favorite 5-Star Seal Reader’s Favorite reviewer Patricia Reding says it best: “Just sixteen, pregnant, betrayed by boyfriend...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
One Night with the Prince
The rules were simple:. 15 girls were chosen from royal bloodlines to be with the Prince. They are given one...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
live performance by YA author
Category: Young Adult Indie
Love can make you do crazy things as Ruby Parker discovers when she dies and returns from the grave to...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Its king murdered in cold blood by friend and foe alike, the once magnificent kingdom of Arenhed has fallen to...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Fifteen top voices in speculative fiction explore the intersection of fear and love in a haunting, at times hilarious, darkly...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
The past is coming back to haunt the Hero Squad. Archimedes, the Squad’s first foe, is finally heading to trial,...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Marie-Therese, daughter of Marie Antoinette, slips into the streets of Paris at the height of the French Revolution, she...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)