Into the Woods Book Poster Image

Into the Woods

Overlong, partly successful fairy-tale mash-up.

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Fighting; attacks by wolves; a man falls to his death; a woman is burned alive; children, including a toddler, are injured, kidnapped, enslaved, and in constant peril.


A kiss. An evil man plans to force a girl who just turned 16 to marry him.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A witch uses drugs hidden in sweets to control children; the children then use this drug to overcome adults.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that children, including a toddler, are in constant peril -- injured, kidnapped, enslaved, threatened, tormented, and manipulated. Some children may find the parents, neglectful and disinterested at best, disturbing, especially when the father abandons his children.

Parents say

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What's the story?

Aurora has always taken care of her younger sisters -- daring, impulsive Storm, and toddler Any -- but since their mother died and their father abandoned them, it has gotten harder. When the evil Dr. DeWilde and his minion wolves invade their home looking for a mysterious pipe their mother left to Storm, they are forced to flee into the woods.

Through a series of perilous adventures they find out that the pipe has magical powers, and that Dr. DeWilde is enslaving children and adults to dig for gems in an underground mine. When he kidnaps Any, Storm and Aurora follow her trail to try to get her back. But that's just what Dr. DeWilde has in mind.

Is it any good?


The Rowling curse strikes again. If author Lyn Gardner had followed the example of Lemony Snicket (whose tightly constructed little books are a clear influence) instead of J. K. Rowling (who virtually invented the fat children's fantasy) this book would have been far better. Buried in its over 400 pages is a fun 200-page fairy-tale melodrama; it's really Snicket crossed with Stephen Sondheim (whose musical play is referenced with more than just the title).

Kids with patience will find an intermittently exciting mash-up of fairy tales. One of the real pleasures of the book is finding all the references. There are also some plot surprises, interestingly flawed characters, and a twisty ethical dilemma to discuss. It's a pleasant yet plodding first effort.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Storm's dilemma. What should she have done when faced with choosing one sister to be freed? She believes she has betrayed her sisters -- has she? In an ethical dilemma in which there is no clear right or wrong, how would you decide? Also, some children may want to read the original fairy tales upon which this novel is based.

Book details

Author:Lyn Gardner
Illustrator:Mini Grey
Genre:Fairy Tale
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:David Fickling Books
Publication date:June 12, 2007
Number of pages:428

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Teen, 13 years old Written byActressofHapiness August 2, 2012

Into the Woods

I read this book when I was ten. I loved it. It is a mashup of fairytales. There are references to Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretal, and (most of all) The Pied Piper of Hamelin. It has many similarities to Lemony Snickets Series of Unfortunate Events. In one scene, the youngest sister (who is only a baby) bites the evil bad guy, Doctor DeWilde. I thought imediatly of the youngest sibling from A Series of Unfortunate Events. There are some scary parts (I couldn't get to sleep after reading the chapter about the ghost place) but kids ten and up should be able to enjoy this. There is one kiss, and lots of violence. Storm is a positive Role Model. She is determind to help her sisters. Overall, I would say this is a book for kids ten and up. Read it!
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Kid, 11 years old June 3, 2011

10 year old reports

I am a 10 year old kid and i read Into The Woods, i thought it was creative but it still had some ideas from the well known Brothers Grimm Fairy tales. It was sad but also really funny and adventurous! But when i put it onto genres i would probably be adding it to the suspense genre. I do think it should be an award winner though.