Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Beyond the Deepwoods: Book 1 of The Edge Chronicles, by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, 1998

When long-legged Twig learns he's not really a woodtroll, he sets off through the Deepwoods to locate his adoptive cousin and perhaps find his destiny. He's waylaid by a parade of the bizarre and predatory inhabitants of the Deepwoods, and nearly digested on more than one occasion before discovering his true origins. A collaboration between author and illustrator, this episodic novel's great strenth is its vivid menagerie of frightful beasties, wonderfully drawn by Chris Riddell. Its weakness is its overreliance on those beasties, and on the illustrations themselves, which liven up a sometimes disconnected narrative. Points for each time the word "sticky" is used, and the text's bonus word is "juddered." For readers fond of monsters and goo, recommended.

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