These wonderfully creative stories bring the reader into a great forest called the Impassable Wilderness on the edge of Portland, Oregon, where no one has ever gone. The main character, Prue, is a strong, smart, clever child, who seems to be able to make her way out of tough situations with creatures warring and others with dark designs, by making the situation better for everyone involved.
Mr. Meloy writes perfectly for the young adult who craves a fantastical adventure complete with mystery, danger, magic and wonder. You can see how this book could come from the singer and writer of songs for the group The Decemberists. Think of The Hazards of Love, for instance, as another fantastical tale with magic and wonder.
So, I love the stories themselves, but they are made particularly enjoyable and magical by the gorgeous illustrations of Carson Ellis. I first remember seeing her illustrations in the Mysterious Benedict Society Books, by Trenton Lee Stewart. These are fun adventure books, also for the young adult, full of clues, mysteries, and clever kids.
Here's one last connection. I have an album, Saltbreakers, by Laura Viers, a singer/songwriter who now lives in Portland. I used to be the Music Department Librarian at Carleton College, which is where Laura went to school. We would keep discs by Carleton alumni in the library, of course, and I really liked Saltbreakers, my kids and I especially liked To the Country because we live in the country. Last year, while looking through the Children's new materials in our library, I spotted a Laura Viers kids CD, but thought the drawing on the front looked kind of familiar.
Sure enough, illustrated by Carson Ellis!
Oh, connections, connections.