Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Exciting enchanted forest adventure to save baby brother.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 14 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The fantasy elements are set atop the actual geography of Portland, OR, and the fauna of Wildwood are indigenous to that area.

Positive Messages

Physical and emotional bravery are sometimes required in the face of great odds and terrible trials.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Prue and Curtis never give up their quest to save Mac, and Curtis stands by his oath to assist the bandits and their allies in defeating the villain.


Humans and animals fight each other with guns, swords, arrows, and handmade weapons, and the results are realistically, though not bloodily, depicted. An infant is in constant mortal jeopardy, although he is not shown to be physically harmed. Most readers over 9 will be able to handle the level of violence.


The two main characters share an awkward hug.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wildwood, written by the lead singer and songwriter of the Portland, OR, rock band the Decemberists, follows the adventures of a brave pair of children as they face magic and armed combat in a fantasy world. The stakes are high and not every character fares well in the end, but the rewards of the tale well outweigh any drawbacks. Humans and animals fight each other with guns, swords, arrows, and handmade weapons, and the results are realistically, though not bloodily, depicted. An infant is in constant mortal jeopardy, although he is not shown to be physically harmed.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8-year-old Written byLindseyMote April 25, 2014

Fabulous Story!

My 9 year old advanced reader devoured this book! She raved about every single page and begged me to read it when she was done. Fabulous story!!
Teen, 14 years old Written byMochiWolf February 10, 2018

Well-written and compelling, but gruesome

This book is so well-written that it honestly feels more like watching a movie than reading a book. I felt myself getting so drawn in that when I looked up from... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 18, 2021

One of the Best Books of all Time

Wildwood is a spectacular aventure/fantasy navel about 12-year-old Prue who's baby brother gets abducted by crows. Determined to save him, Prue ventures in... Continue reading

What's the story?

When her baby brother, Mac, is carried away by a flock of crows, seventh grader Prue McKeel embarks on a rescue mission that takes her away from her familiar Portland, OR, neighborhood and into the Impassable Wilderness. Accompanied by Curtis, a socially awkward schoolmate, Prue explores a strange land where gun-wielding coyotes, battle-ready bandits, intrepid forest creatures, and peaceable mystics all react to the machinations of the evil Dowager Governess. Prue and Curtis' first obligation is to save Mac, but they learn that the kidnapped infant is only one part of a scheme to destroy nearly everything in the forest known as Wildwood.

Is it any good?

WILDWOOD is an exciting, charming, and clever tale that finds a unique kind of magic in the forest of the Pacific Northwest. The plot has echoes of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, but it is not slavish to its influences, presenting an unusual and well-drawn mix of adult, child, and animal characters. Meloy has a pleasant, unaffected style, and Ellis' illustrations perfectly complement the text. The first part of a proposed series, Wildwood resolves its central conflict satisfactorily, while leaving enough tantalizing loose ends for further exploration.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the precautions that should be taken while babysitting, even if kidnapping by crows is not high on the list of dangers.

  • Prue discovers a family secret about herself and her baby brother. Are there some facts that parents are entitled to keep from their young children?

  • The novel's villain, the Dowager Governess, lost both her husband and her young son. What effect might grief have on a person and how might it change the way he or she views other people?

  • One character is torn between family life in Portland and life in the Impassable Wilderness. How do people deal with conflicting emotions about their physical proximity to family?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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