Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint

I was so excited when I heard that this book was coming out. It's written by one of my favorite authors, Charles De Lint, and illustrated by one of my favorite artists, Charles Vess. It's an expansion on a picture book they did years back, A Circle of Cats and it was simply wonderful :) I just loved it.

While Lillian is out exploring in the woods one day, she's bitten by a snake and her life is taken from her. But not for long. A circle of cats surround her and with a twist of magic, give her that life back, but in the form of a kitten. She soon finds her aunt looking for her and worrying about her and she wants nothing more than to make everything go away and to just be a girl again. So with the help of a fox she goes to a possum witch who can reverse things to make it like nothing ever happened. But that comes with it's own consequences which set our story in motion.

I finished this book while my mom was having her surgery and my sister asked me "what are you reading?! Is that a kids book?" I told her that it could be a kids book but it's for everyone really. She asked what it was about and I said..."well it's about this little girl who gets bitten by a snake and it kills her and these cats bring her back to life but as a kitten but she doesn't want to be a kitten so she goes to this witch who makes her a girl again but because of that...." Not going to tell you any more because I don't want to tell you what happens :p But her response was "that's morbid!" Which is exactly why I love De Lint. He doesn't tell perfectly wrapped fairy tales. Instead, he gives us tales that children can enjoy too but aren't always so picture perfect.

And this tale is accompanied with absolutely GORGEOUS paintings by Charles Vess throughout. Seriously there were so many of them that I wanted to just rip out of the book and put on my walls. Something that I would never do of course :p But they fit the feel of the story so well and the book really wouldn't have felt as complete as it did without his drawings. They added so much to it. Perfect for this Once Upon a Time :)


Jeane said...

Sounds wonderful. I love stories with cats, and foxes too! and the illustrations just look gorgeous.

Bellezza said...

Can you believe I didn't know of Charles Vess' wok until I discovered Gaiman's acknowledgement to him in the back of Stardust? I mean, are you sure you want to continue blogging with me?! As for the cats, I love them!

Susan said...

Love this review, Chris. I really want to read this now - I did before, but you made it sound a little bit dark and ever so much fun, Chris. Good thing my birthday is coming up! I'm getting quite a list....and this will be on it.

I hope your mom is doing better and doesn't have to have much radiation, Chris. Fingers crossed for all of you.

DesLily said...

I love a book that has illos in it!! Unfortunately, (I suspect, due to cost) not many "adult" books do that anymore. It's a shame really because it really adds to the book and helps our imagination along...

I read this because you made a fuss over it lol (before you even read it)..but it's a good choice!

Daphne said...

Charles de Lint and cats? I'm sold!!

Bookfool said...

A Circle of Cats has been on my wishlist at PBS since April of 2006. Do you think it's time for me to give up and order both books? The illustrations by Vess are gorgeous!!! Of course, cats . . . I'm just going to love anything with cats in it.

Chris Howard said...

Jeane, I thought of you while I was reading this one :) I thought...this is one that Jeane is going to put on her wishlist :p I think you'll really enjoy it!

Bellezza, Uh, my dear, nothing could make me want to stop blogging with you ;) If it makes you feel any better, I had never heard of Charles Vess until I started blogging either ;)

Susan, Oh you're so going to love this one!!! It's so so so fantastic :)

Mama, I SO agree with you!! I really wish more books would be illustrated like this one was. So very beautiful and added so much to the story! I'm glad you enjoyed it too :) I knew you would even before I read it! I mean it's cats, fantasy, and an awesome illustrator :p It's like it's made for you! LOL

Daphne, For real! And Charles Vess illustrating it all! Doesn't get any better ;)

Nancy, YES YES should just buy it :p Then you'll have a free spot on your PBS wishlist too :p The illustrations really are gorgeous! I'm of the firm belief that Charles Vess can do no wrong. I think the same of De Lint too so this was a fantastic collaboration. I honestly cannot see you NOT liking this book. You'll love it ;)