What I’m Reading: Wildwood
Although I’ve only mentioned The King is Dead on this blog, the Decemberists are my favorite band ever as of right now, and have been for a while. Brilliant sound, brilliant lyrics, I just love love love the Decemberists. And guess what, world? Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy has written a children’s book called Wildwood that is illustrated by his wife, Carson Ellis. The first four chapters are available for free here. You can bet your butts that I have read the first four chapters and they are so good.
The story follows Prue, a girl growing up in Portland, Oregon. She is babysitting her younger brother, Mac, when he is kidnapped by a murder of crows and taken into the Impassable Wilderness. She and her schoolmate, Curtis, must journey through this wilderness to find Mac.
Unfortunately for the ENTIRE WORLD who doesn’t have an ARC, there are only four chapters out so far. I loved them so much. What I think I loved most of all, though, is that Meloy doesn’t sacrifice language just because the book is for younger readers. Children are smart, and this book does not condescend to its readers. As a kid, I would’ve been totally into this. I’m still totally into this. But I would have really appreciated a book that uses a higher vocabulary.
I also love the little hints at the Portland culture of hipsterdom. (Examples: Prue, a vegetarian, rides a single speed bicycle. All of her classmates have graduated from doodling superheroes to band logos. Prue’s morning with Mac: “a pair of Levis, not quite the right color, needed returning; the recent arrivals bin at Vinyl Resting Place required perusing; a plate of veggie tostadas was messily shared at the taqueria […]” How great is that?) And of course I love the illustrations. Lovely, quirky, and entirely in line with the story.
AND it got a nice blurb from one of my favorite authors, Jonathan Safran Foer. There are so many things to love.
The only disappointing part? The rest of the book doesn’t come out until the end of August and the excerpt ends with a bit of a cliffhanger. HarperCollins / Colin Meloy, if you’re reading this, do you mind sending me an ARC? I don’t think I can wait that long.
Bonus video (Carson and Colin discuss the book):
Seriously. I cannot talk this up enough. I cannot wait until the rest of it comes out. Everyone else in the world read this right now and suffer with me.