Genre: Fantasy

Wildwood

Wildwood

Wildwood is a middle grade fantasy-adventure story written by Colin Meloy, the lead singer of the Decemberists. Twelve-year old Prue’s baby brother has been snatched by crows and taken into the forest near Portland, where no one ever goes, known as the Impassable Wilderness. Prue and her friend Curtis venture into the forest to save Mac and encounter talking animals, magic, and a divided kingdom falling into war. The hardcover is beautiful, with a lovely cover and illustrations. While the book suffers a bit from heavy description (my mind wandered at times) and some familial relationships that rang false to me, the book gained speed at the end and piqued my interest enough to continue with the second in the trilogy, which reviews say is darker. Knowing that, I would recommend this for older middle-grade readers—maybe 11 and up. More info →
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Justice Unending

Justice Unending

Justice Unending is not the type of book I’m usually drawn to, but I’ve lately found myself more open to fantasy and science fiction-type books than I have been in the past. This is the first book I’ve read in the YA "steampunk" genre, and I enjoyed the how the realistic older technology melded with the fantasy world. The world in which the story is set is highly original (a walled-off country ruled by immortals that must inhabit the bodies of humans, who die when their bodies are chosen) and the story is tense and fast-moving. When Faye’s sister is chosen by one of the “Unendings,” Faye tries to say goodbye one last time and finds herself the host of an Unending who is leading a rebellion against the ruling immortals. The world is richly drawn, with an original take on compliance with ruling classes and power systems. The book is ripe for a sequel, with many aspects of the world left to explore. Full disclosure: The author is a long-time colleague and I’m ridiculously proud of her for writing and publishing this book. However, I did buy the book and am not in any way affiliated with the marketing of it. I hope you’ll check it out! More info →
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

What is there to say about Harry Potter that hasn't been said? I read the first two books on my own years ago, but when my daughter was born six years ago, I decided to wait and read them with her. We got the illustrated version of the book (the first two, actually), and I’m hoping all of the books will eventually have illustrated versions so we can have a full collection. The books are beautiful, and she enjoyed the illustrations and asked a lot of questions about them. We’re waiting to read the second book—I think age five was just a little young for Harry Potter—but when I remembered to read slowly and take the time to discuss the story, she was eager to read it and seemed to follow most of the story. More info →
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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The second in the Harry Potter series has turned my six-year-old into a full-on Harry Potter superfan. We had a blast reading and discussing Harry's second year in the world of Hogwarts and who could have opened the Chamber of Secrets. The illustrated versions of these books are beautiful; she examines each one carefully so she understands which character or scene is being shown. We of course followed this up by viewing the movie, which is also wonderful. More info →
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