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)
545   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

Michael completed the Path. What he found at the end turned everything he’d ever known about his life—and the...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel....
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
“Happy birthday, child. Careful not to shoot any grundwirgen.” Ever since she was a small girl, she has learned to...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
This quirky, narrative scrapbook gives readers a witty, honest look at what it means to be a teenager.Using mini-graphic novels,...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
In Bed Stuy, New York, a small misunderstanding can escalate into having a price on your head—even if you’re totally...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
From the author of Fault Line comes an edgy and heartbreaking novel about two self-destructive teens in a Sid and...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Sammy Keyes has spent the last few years solving other people's mysteries; now her friends (and some foes) come together...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Charlie and Tommy have big plans for Halloween. They hope to get out of taking their little sisters around and...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
The reading scores at Ella Mentry School are way down, so Mr. Macky has decided to hire a special new...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
A.J. and the gang from My Weird School star in this special series of after-school, holiday-themed chapter books featuring all-new...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Stanley is working at his garage today. From filling up Hattie's red sports car with gas to changing the tire...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
When Stanley's friend Myrtle buys a plot of land, she asks Stanley to build her a new house. He works...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In Julie Kagawa's groundbreaking modern fantasy series, dragons walk among us in human form. Long ago, dragons were hunted to...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
As the junior concierge at her father's posh hotel, thirteen-year-old Chloe escorts three troublemaking royals on their trip to New...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
It's 1926, and the one thing eleven-year-old Lexie Lewis wants more than anything is to leave Portland, where she is...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
When an earthquake causes the deadly band of air that covers the post World War III Earth to begin to...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil...
 
4.0
 
4.0 (1)
blue lily lily blue.jpg
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up. Blue Sargent...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)