Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

deepwoodsPublished: 1998

Genre: YA fantasy

Length: 288 pages

Setting: the Deepwoods

Interest: Mr. Curiosity actually picked up the book, which is the first book in the Edge Chronicles. He thought it looked interesting and wanted to start a new series. After he finished the book, I read it to see what it was like. (Yes, I probably should have done it in the opposite order, but he’s getting old enough to judge his own books, and I’m not about to stop him when he’s actually willing to start a new series.)

Summary: Twig has grown up with the woodtrolls. One day, his mother informs him he’s not a woodtroll, and sends him down the path to live with a cousin (so the Sky Pirates don’t take him). Unfortunately, he strays from the path almost immediately and gets lost in the Deepwoods. Along the way to figuring out where he comes from, he has many adventures. He is befriended by the Slaughterers, nearly dies by a Skullpelt, helps out a Banderbear, who teaches him how to live safely in the woods, is turned into a pet by a Trog, and helps some Sky Pirates, among other adventures. Along the way, helpful (or not so helpful) individuals send him on his way through the woods. Eventually, he gets to the edge of the woods, and is confronted by the Gloamglozer (the bogeyman of the woods). Twig is saved by a caterbird and is reunited with his Sky Pirate father.

Final thoughts: A fun little story with excellent illustrations. The illustrations are almost a required part of the book since Twig lives in such a fantastical world. Instead of the author having to describe every little bit of every new character, there’s a black-and-white illustration of that character on the page. The illustrations really added to the enjoyment of the book. The story was your typical orphan quest – Twig was looking to see where he really fit in. While Mr. Curiosity is reading the next book in the series right now, I doubt I will. I’m not sure why, but the story didn’t grab me as tightly as the best ones do, so I won’t bother reading any more in the series. I will say, it’s just a step above The Spiderwick Chronicles so if your child enjoyed that series, have them give this a try.

Title comes from: The Deepwoods was the setting from the story, and Twig was trying to figure out where he fit within the Deepwoods. Turns out, he’s from beyond the Deepwoods.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 41/100 in the Read-a-Latte Challenge

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