Author: Lyn Gardner
Illustrator: Mini Grey
Let’s be honest, although they are duly saddened, sisters Aurora and Storm Eden don’t find their lives greatly changed when their mother dies in childbirth and their father (stricken by grief, yes, but also behaving very typically) takes off on another trip. The new baby, whom their father absentmindedly tells them to name “Anything,” seems to be getting along quite swimmingly as well. Truly, life at Eden End under Aurora’s super-organized care, goes on much as usual. That is, until the dastardly Dr. DeWilde takes an uncanny interest in the dull musical pipe their mother left Storm. As Dr. DeWilde and his wolves drive the three sisters into the woods, Aurora, Storm, and Any must unite to protect themselves against the dark, dangerous world around them.
What a serendipitous find Into the Woods is! I stumbled upon it at the library while looking for a Gaiman, and fell in love upon seeing the cover, which is funky and fun. That basically describes the entire story. If Lemony Snicket, Philip Pullman, and the Brothers Grimm had collaborated on a book, it might read something like Into the Woods. The mixture of fairy-tale allusions, dark circumstances, beautiful storytelling, sisterly camaraderie (and discord, at times) is truly wonderful to read. The illustrations are, as the rest of the story, funky and fun–I really enjoyed the way they are woven into the fabric of the story itself. Into the Woods is a highly recommended modern fantasy–please read it!