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Newford #18

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest

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Lillian Kindred spends her days exploring the Tanglewood Forest, a magical rolling wilderness, that she imagines to be full of fairies. The trouble is, Lillian has never seen a wisp of magic in her hills-until the day the cats of the forest save her life by transforming her into a kitten. Now Lillian must set out on a perilous adventure that will lead her through untamed lands of fabled creatures-from Old Mother Possum to the fearsome Bear People-to find a way to make things right.

304 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 1, 2013

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About the author

Charles de Lint

441 books3,757 followers
Charles de Lint is the much beloved author of more than seventy adult, young adult, and children's books. Renowned as one of the trailblazers of the modern fantasy genre, he is the recipient of the World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, and White Pine awards, among others. Modern Library's Top 100 Books of the 20th Century poll, conducted by Random House and voted on by readers, put eight of de Lint's books among the top 100.
De Lint is a poet, folklorist, artist, songwriter and performer. He has written critical essays, music reviews, opinion columns and entries to encyclopedias, and he's been the main book reviewer for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction since 1987. De Lint served as Writer-in-residence for two public libraries in Ottawa and has taught creative writing workshops for adults and children in Canada and the United States. He's been a judge for several prominent awards, including the Nebula, World Fantasy, Theodore Sturgeon and Bram Stoker.

Born in the Netherlands in 1951, de Lint immigrated to Canada with his family as an infant. The family moved often during de Lint's childhood because of his father's job with an international surveying company, but by the time Charles was twelve—having lived in Western Canada, Turkey and Lebanon—they had settled in Lucerne, Quebec, not far from where he now resides in Ottawa, Ontario.

In 1980, de Lint married the love of his life, MaryAnn Harris, who works closely with him as his first editor, business manager and creative partner. They share their love and home with a cheery little dog named Johnny Cash.

Charles de Lint is best described as a romantic: a believer in compassion, hope and human potential. His skilled portrayal of character and settings has earned him a loyal readership and glowing praise from peers, reviewers and readers.

Charles de Lint writes like a magician. He draws out the strange inside our own world, weaving stories that feel more real than we are when we read them. He is, simply put, the best.
—Holly Black (bestselling author)
Charles de Lint is the modern master of urban fantasy. Folktale, myth, fairy tale, dreams, urban legend—all of it adds up to pure magic in de Lint's vivid, original world. No one does it better.
—Alice Hoffman (bestselling author)

To read de Lint is to fall under the spell of a master storyteller, to be reminded of the greatness of life, of the beauty and majesty lurking in shadows and empty doorways.
—Quill & Quire

His Newford books, which make up most of de Lint's body of work between 1993 and 2009, confirmed his reputation for bringing a vivid setting and repertory cast of characters to life on the page. Though not a consecutive series, the twenty-five standalone books set in (or connected to) Newford give readers a feeling of visiting a favourite city and seeing old friends.
More recently, his young adult Wildlings trilogy—Under My Skin, Over My Head, and Out of This World—came out from Penguin Canada and Triskell Press in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Under My Skin won 2013 Aurora Award. A novel for middle-grade readers, The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, published by Little Brown in 2013, won the Sunburst Award, earned starred reviews in both Publishers Weekly and Quill & Quire, and was chosen by the New York Times Editors as one of the top six children's books for 2013. His most recent adult novel, The Mystery of Grace (2009), is a fascinating ghost story about love, passion and faith. It was a finalist for both the Sunburst and Evergreen awards.

De Lint is presently writing a new adult novel. His storytelling skills also shine in his original songs. He and MaryAnn (also a musician) recently released companion CDs of their original songs, samples of which can be heard on de Lin

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5 stars
1,004 (42%)
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845 (35%)
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418 (17%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 433 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,978 reviews170k followers
June 14, 2020
"…it might seem like a terrible thing to be trapped in a kitten's body, but there are worse fates"

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 photo IMG_7190_zpsefjp2p4w.jpg s you can see in the comments below the review, [name redacted] very politely asked me to read this book, so i did.

 photo IMG_7196_zpsgb1ojmw9.jpg 've never read anything else by de lint, and even though this is technically part of his sprawling newford series, my understanding of how that series rolls is that it's not necessary to read them all, or read them all in order; like the brilliant donald harington's stay more "series" they are only connected by location and tone.

 photo IMG_7194_zpsgeo4hydq.jpg eel free to jump in and correct me, internet fact-checkers.

 photo IMG_7199_zpsw37pllua.jpg his is a cute little story about the rambunctious orphan lillian kindred - the red-headed tomboy who lives on the edge of the tanglewood forest with her aunt. she spends her days running barefoot through the woods looking for fairies, putting out milk for the many feral cats who live in the forest, as well as some treats for the apple tree man - the oldest apple tree in the orchard. she is a friend to all animals, and is half-feral herself

She hadn't meant to fall asleep, but she was a bit like a cat herself, wandering in the woods, chasing after squirrels and rabbits as fast as her skinny legs could take her when the fancy struck, climbing trees like a possum, able to doze in the sun at a moment's notice. And sometimes with no notice at all.

 photo IMG_7198_zpsgjylakxf.jpg hich is what grown-ups call "foreshadowing" because one day, while she is catnapping under a tree, tuckered out from chasing a deer, a poisonous snake bites her. the cats of the forest gather around, distressed, because lillian has always been kind to them. they can't save her from dying, but there's one thing they can do. they can "…change her into something that isn't dying."

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 photo IMG_7141_zpsyd7q7oef.jpg nd even though the father of cats does not like it when they meddle with magic, there is no other option, so they turn her into a little calico cat.

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 photo IMG_7189_zpsr31gyq5t.jpg illian wakes up alive and kittenish, able to talk to the animals directly for the first time, but worried about aunt and looking to be changed back into a person.

 photo IMG_7208_zpskk0nujha.jpg hich leads her on a journey of adventures, where she meets and converses with a cow, jack crow, a handsome fox, the bear people, a possum witch; where she is transformed and transformed again and learns the dangers of getting what you wish for and the unforeseen consequences of messing with magic.

 photo IMG_7193_zpsc6f4zaz8.jpg illian will also meet up with the father of cats himself.

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 photo IMG_7202_zpsaoq1cwj9.jpg t's a cute little story, but it's the artwork that makes me love it.

 photo IMG_7150_zpsdfojrojn.jpg

 photo IMG_7205_zpsral5h7po.jpg nd as you can see, each chapter opens with a different letter/animal entwinement, which is a nice touch.

 photo IMG_7200_zpsp4srbi7f.jpg here's a companion book to this one, in this illustrated format, but it doesn't seem to be cat-centric, so i'm not sure i will follow up with that one. i may read more books in this world, though, if anyone wants to give me some guidance.

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i will read it as soon as i can i promise i promise!!!
i read it!
review TK!

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Tony DiTerlizzi.
Author 120 books1,949 followers
February 1, 2013
I was delighted by Charles de Lint's timeless tangled tale of magic and consequence, beautifully illuminated with the lush illustrations of Charles Vess. This is my new favorite feline folktale.
March 2, 2015
{February 28th, 2015} MINI REVIEW

3 stars.

I've read Charles de Lint before, and was fascinated by his stories -- this one felt like a bizarre tale you'd hear from a friend of a friend of mine via fairytale styled.

Now that's not an entirely bad thing in my opinion. I just went into reading it with a certain mindset and was surprised with how it began, then it unfortunately hit a point where I thought it just made a fool of itself. Other parts I really liked like the fox, cats, and the various people Lillian meets over the course of the story.

Whereas the illustrations by Charles Vess were absolutely gorgeous and really added to the overall story. Thank you for such a treat! <3
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,371 reviews920 followers
November 15, 2015
A copy of The Cats of Tanglewood Forest was provided to me by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for review purposes.

"Everything is a lesson if you're willing to learn something from it."

Twelve year old Lillian is an adventurous little girl who traverses the Tanglewood forest searching for fairies that she's convinced exist. After she's tragically bitten by a snake and dies, she hovers above her body long enough to witness the ring of cats that has surrounded her. Next thing she knows, she's awake again and is now furry with paws. Seeking to find a way to rectify the situation, she seeks to change the past but in turn ends up living an even worse existence after her Aunt dies after being bitten by the snake instead.

"Maybe there's a reason why the snake bit you, the cats changed you, and you're no longer a girl. Maybe there's something you can learn from being a cat instead of a girl."

Tanglewood's main lesson centers around how small choices can lead to surprisingly large consequences that you may not realize until it's too late. Despite it's fantasy elements, it still manages to be a lesson that can be understood and appreciated. Charles de Lint has crafted a perfectly charming folktale story and in addition to the enchanting art of Charles Vess this is one that children and adults both are sure to enjoy.
Profile Image for Shannon.
Author 22 books9 followers
May 5, 2013
If it were just the writing, this would be an easy four stars. It's a great story and just the sort that I love (plucky orphaned girl swept up into a fairy tale), but Charles de Lint's made up Indian tribe (the Kickaha) kind of makes my skin crawl with their patent falseness. I know he's doing it with the best intentions in the world but it's still not really okay. The fake "Indian legends" he puts in the story are basically the equivalent of going "ching chong" to imitate an Asian language.

And yet...the ART. Every page is a jewel. The illustrations and the text come together gorgeously; the book, as a physical object, is a treasure.

So...four stars for the story, minus one for the (unintentional) racism, that's three stars. Five stars for the art. Split the difference...four stars. It really is a beautiful book.
Profile Image for Jalilah.
374 reviews91 followers
July 2, 2016
Together with the gorgeous illustrations from Charles Vess, this ageless tale completely transports the reader into a mythical and magical universe. I just could have kept reading and looking at the pictures all day long in order to stay there and never leave!
The combination of the Folklore-Fairy Tale with the time Science Fiction (going back in time/time travel/alternate reality/however you describe it) really worked well!
Usually I find De Lint's adult novels are deeper and richer, however this one was very thought provoking and touched me in quite a deep way.
Profile Image for Jean.
190 reviews1 follower
March 26, 2013
Lillian lives on a farm with her aunt, and she enjoys wandering the nearby forest, looking for fairies. One day she decides to follow a deer and ends up lost in the woods. While she lies under a tree to rest, a snake bites her. As the venom sinks in, Lillian knows she is dying. The world fades away, and cats of the forest surround her and decide to use their magic to save her by turning her into a kitten. What follows is a tale of Lillian trying to set her world right again through the help of magical creatures including a possum woman, a friendly fox, and some mean bear people. Along the way she learns the importance of considering consequences and remembering the past.

This book is filled with folktale-like characters and events, such as magic spells, potions, talking animals, and people who are part animal. The author uses language that suits the folktale medium as well. I don’t know that this will necessarily appeal to young readers, but I suppose it could. I found the story dragged a bit, especially in the middle, and I didn’t like how it occurred in a non-linear fashion. I also wanted the cats to be a more central part of the story since they are in the title. The story is really about Lillian, not the cats, so I found the title misleading. The book is interesting as a look at folktales and magic, but not enough to be really good.
Profile Image for Cheryl .
9,271 reviews398 followers
October 8, 2016
Just didn't work for me. Too many tropes, too full of itself. Not enough cats, or enough fox (T.H. was the best part). Sometimes, in the pictures especially, the girl seemed to be about 8, other times more like 13. If it weren't for the plethora of pictures, I don't think I'd have bothered to finish it... not because I loved them (I didn't) but because they took up space and so the book is short.

I've heard that the original version is a picture-book. I might read that sometime, because I could hope that it more concisely gets to the point.
Profile Image for Cassandra Carico.
210 reviews9 followers
July 4, 2020
Charles de Lint never disappoints. This was exactly the magical world I needed as reprieve from my studies, and Charles Vess adds perfectly to the experience with his beautiful illustrations.
Profile Image for Melanti.
1,256 reviews117 followers
November 4, 2013
A lovely, beautifully illustrated prequel to Seven Wild Sisters, telling the story of how Lillian was turned into a cat for a day and met the Apple Tree Man.

As much as I love Charles de Lint, I have to admit he plays fast and loose with his Native American traditions -- almost as if the tribes were interchangeable. Unfortunately, in this book it's very apparent since Ananzi makes an appearance as an old woman named Aunt Nancy.

And yes, I know it says that Aunt Nancy's father came from Africa, and that's probably supposed to explain away her appearance, and yes, I know the Kickaha tribe doesn't actually exist so there's no "real" tribal traditions to follow, but Ananzi stories that far north just doesn't sit right with me. And in any case, no matter were they were in North America, that particular story migrated from Africa to the Caribbean and then into the southern U.S. with the slave trade, so though it's known here, it's not a Native American tale!

It doesn't help that Vess's drawings of Aunt Nancy are rather stereotypical -- and that's phrasing it VERY mildly!

Shrug. I think Judith Berman managed to meld cultures and traditions together very well in her Bear Daughter. Maybe now that I've seen it done that well once I'm less tolerant more ham-fisted attempts? Or maybe it's just my mood. I haven't cared much for any book I've read in the last week or two.

An interview with de Lint that talks about his use of Native American traditions can be found here: http://www.challengingdestiny.com/int...

I've no idea how to rate this book. The story itself I'd probably rate at 4 or 5 stars, but the Ananzi thing and Vess's poor wardrobe choices bother me enough that I feel weird giving it that many.
Profile Image for Branwen Sedai *of the Brown Ajah*.
983 reviews168 followers
April 8, 2013
"A person can't depend on anybody else for their happiness. The only way you can ever find any peace is to find it in yourself-in what you do and what you stand for."

Cats, fairies, possum witches, talking foxes, magical forests...what's not to love? ;) This book was a fun hodgepodge fairytale of a young girl coming into her own. When she falls asleep in the magical Tanglewood Forest near her farm and gets bit by a poisonous snake, you think the tale might be over before it has begun. But nothing is as it seems in stories such as these, and when a bunch of cats from the forest use their magic to help her by turning her into a cat, young Lillian finds her adventure has actually just started!

This book was a fun, delightful read. Although it is aimed for a younger audience, I enjoyed it greatly! The writing style was lyrical and beautiful (It's written by Charles de Lint, and he's such a genius!) and the story was fun and had lots of twists and turns. And the color illustrations throughout the book were gorgeous as well. This was a great read that I'm sure I will enjoy again and again.
Profile Image for Julia.
2,513 reviews66 followers
August 20, 2013
Just as lovely and magical as I could have hoped, this book took me back to those childhood days when every page was an adventure to be savored. With the advent of eBooks, I have my fingers crossed that publishers may be inspired to give us a little something extra in a physical book. Sure, I love the convenience of carrying books around on my phone, but that doesn't mean I don't want lovely, hardbound, illustrated versions on my shelf as well. THE CATS OF TANGLEWOOD FOREST is the perfect example, from the first glimpse of the pictures inside, my fingers itched to make it mine. Pairing Charles de Lint's lovely voice with bright, dreamy pictures was the perfect marriage of magic and whimsy. I enjoyed my own copy, and am now off to buy more for every young child in my life.
Profile Image for Lacey Louwagie.
Author 7 books59 followers
June 19, 2016
Around the Year Reading Challenge Item #27: A Book With a Beautiful Title

I expected to like this book a lot more than I actually did -- as a cat lover, I was disappointed that the cats did not play a bigger part, that we never learned much about their society or their "cat magic" and that the inciting incident of Lillian being transformed into a cat wasn't even that much of the story.

The quest that actually takes up most of the book felt a little convoluted to me, and the messaging trite. The final resolution also felt as if it came too easily. It's a pity, because the book has such a beautiful design and illustrations that I would have loved to hold onto it and share it with someone else -- but the story just doesn't seem to warrant that for me, so I think I will be passing it on.
Profile Image for Margaret.
1,158 reviews60 followers
April 10, 2017
Once upon a time a little girl who lives with her Aunt and feeds all the wild cats goes traipsing about the forest, falls asleep beneath a beech tree, and gets bit by a snake. Because they love her, the cats decide to save her by turning her into a kitten.

A charming MG novel, with lovely illustrations by Charles Vess. It's a companion novel to Seven Wild Sisters, which I liked better, but this one was still a fun read.
Profile Image for Chloe.
64 reviews
October 7, 2022
Rereading this book when im much older, it still hasnt lost its charm. This book WAS the book of my childhood. I remember spending hours reading it, reading pages over and over again to get the perfect crystal clear visualisation of every step. The lessons I learnt from this are so invaluable. Teaches you a lot about native american mythology too and all the illustrations are stunning. Most aesthetically pleasing book ive ever owned and one of the best reads
Profile Image for Chris.
2,861 reviews204 followers
September 25, 2016
3.5 stars. A young girl who lives in the Ozarks wanders deep into the woods and ends up on a very unexpected path. Charming illustrations follow her journey, as she learns about friendship. consequences, and standing up for herself.
Profile Image for ✧Neko✧.
44 reviews2 followers
January 29, 2022
3.5 ⭐️
Though this book was overall enjoyable, the last time I read it I was maybe only 10. As a ten year old, this was certainly a more enjoyable read. Reading it now I realize it’s definitely for a younger audience, and the writing feels flat, simple, does not particularly elevate the story, if not providing a whimsical and foresty atmosphere.
That being said, I adored the storytelling and magical legends and myths within the novel, and it was all around an enjoyable read. Perfect for younger 10-12 audiences.
Oh also, an extra .5 stars for the absolutely beautiful, colourful and detailed illustration.
Profile Image for Karen.
Author 9 books27 followers
December 21, 2018
This book was such a vast improvement over the "Wild Sisters" book that I was tempted to give this book five stars.

The writing here is tighter, and the characters more developed and believable. There still is missing a final je ne sais quoi element that would make this book excellent and un-put-down-able, but it is very, very close to it.
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 1 book20 followers
June 21, 2018
I recall absolutely adoring some of de Lint's books as a young and avid reader. Now that I am a middle-aged and avid reader, I find I'm harder to please. In any case, this book was solidly O.K. A little thin for me, a little dark, I think, for the avid young reader in my home, and for a book with "cats" in the title, awfully light on actual felines. Vess's illustrations are very pretty, but his cats are also just ok. I can imagine this book working better as an animated movie (possibly by Studio Ghibli; it has the right blend of darkness and whimsy); a film could tell visually a lot of what was not very well described in the book.
Profile Image for ~☆~Autumn♥♥☔.
893 reviews52 followers
July 24, 2020
Five stars since I cannot see the number of stars lately on the reviews that I read. This is a fabulous fairy tale with wonderful illustrations. I finished it about two am as I could not quit reading it.
Profile Image for Iffah.
157 reviews
August 10, 2020
Lilian's story. This is perfect for middle grade readers.
Profile Image for Francesca.
1,585 reviews115 followers
September 11, 2013

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest di Charles de Lint è una squisita storia-fiaba middle grade, splendidamente illustrata da Charles Vess, una versione riveduta e ampliata di A Circle of Cats del 2003.

Tanto la copertina è accattivante e dà subito un’idea delle delicate e squisite illustrazioni contenute all’interno, quanto la storia è stupenda, ben scritta, toccante.

Protagonista è Lillian Kindred, orfana dodicenne dai capelli rossi che vive nella fattoria dell’amata zia, vicino a un bosco rigoglioso che la ragazzina immagina popolato dalle fate.
Un giorno, giocando nel bosco, viene morsicata più volte da un serpente velenoso e giace morente al suolo. Attorno a lei si radunano i misteriosi e magici gatti del bosco, che le salvano la vita grazie a un incantesimo ma al contempo la trasformano in una gattina.
La magia, tuttavia, ha un prezzo, come scoprirà ben presto Lillian, che dovrà affrontare situazioni complesse ed emotivamente provanti, attraversare luoghi impervi e inquietanti, aver a che fare con creature curiose e magiche, mettersi alla prova e crescere interiormente.

È una storia morale e di formazione, che sottolinea come le nostre scelte abbiano esiti che plasmano la nostra vita e il nostro mondo, come i desideri possano essere anche pericolosi se non si valutano attentamente le conseguenze.
Non è un libro esplicitamente didattico, tuttavia, è un’avvincente avventura, traboccante di senso dello stupore e del meraviglioso, che tiene incollati alle pagine fino alla fine.

La trama è ben strutturata, lo stile scorrevole ma mai trascurato, anzi, talvolta anche accoratamente lirico.
La storia scorre piacevolmente, tra pagine più leggere e altre un po’ più cupe, tra passaggi in cui la magia è protagonista ad altri nei quali in primo piano ci sono i sentimenti umani.
Il tutto reso più godibile grazie alle belle illustrazioni.

Il personaggio di Lillian è descritto mirabilmente, una giovane eroina piena di curiosità, gentilezza, lealtà, voglia di imparare e fare ciò che è giusto. E per questo, per quanto difficile possa essere, imparerà che solo lei può controllare il proprio destino, guardando dentro se stessa e diventando più matura.

Charles de Lint intesse una storia unica, che ha del fiabesco ma sa essere anche realistica, familiare ma inedita allo stesso tempo. Palesi sono, inoltre, le reminiscenze di alcune tematiche delle favole popolari, ma anche spunti tratti dalla mitopoietica classica.

Un romanzo per fanciulli che sa incantare anche gli adulti.

Leggi la recensione anche su The Omega Outpost
Profile Image for Seth Gorden.
6 reviews1 follower
December 21, 2015
One could call this a modern fairy tale, though it's not 21st-century modern. It seems to be a rural American tale, weaving together strands influence from the Welsh and other historical fairy traditions with that of American folklore and Native American mythology. While there is no doubt that this is a Fairy Tale of the first order, it choose cats as the mechanism by which the protagonist, Lillian, is propelled into matters beyond the normal, objective world. That being said, the cats function somewhat as bookends to the tale with all manner of other strange creature populating the middle passages.

I'll be honest, I bought this book not for the cover or the title or the subject matter of cats, but for the interior illustrations. The cover itself, much like the protagonist in the book, hinted at something peculiar but I wasn't sure whether it would be good or bad for me. I care little for stories about cats, but somehow I kept passing it in the book store and wondering what else was going on with narrative. The interior illustrations swayed me, but it was still a gamble.

I'm pleased to report that it paid off. I read this book in its entirety in one day. The chapters are succinct. The plot has more than enough richness to carry along a reader of any age who might be interested in the subject matters of magic or strange happenings in the woods.

Highly enjoyable. I give it five stars by way of the quality and consistency of the writing, by way of the gorgeous illustrations (the style of which I enjoy thoroughly), and also by the surprising way in which the narrative proceeds. The book manages to wrangle a couple Fairy paradoxes quite well. It plays with the concepts of choice and consequence, but without the requisite lateral thinking coupled with similar speculative fiction or fantasy for adult readers.

The final note, and perhaps the most important, is that I left the last pages with a curiosity about the other details of the world. I wanted to know more and experience of certain characters. Luckily for us, this edition comes with sample chapters of another volume taking place in this world (Seven Wild Sisters), and one of my chief curiosities was quick to show up in those sample chapters! A wonderful journey to go on, and Lillian is a wonderful host for one's curiosity.
Profile Image for Bluerose's  Heart.
532 reviews28 followers
August 21, 2014
Other than this book, I've only read 2 other books by Charles de Lint. Those two books let me know how much I ADORE his writing style, though. ADORE! Unfortunately, due to the profanity, I've kept myself from reading any of his other books. (My conviction in this area is *not* an easy one!) It has been one of THE hardest things to do. I've said this time and again, but do you know how hard it is to find clean Native American fantasy fiction?! De Lint writes with an amazing amount of folklore weaved into the story, and Native American characters play important roles(of the ones I've read).

I say all of that so you know just how excited I was when I heard that de Lint had written a book for a middle grade audience. I'm talking happy dancing going on, y'all!

I was even more thrilled when I read it. This book is one to be experienced. It's one of those books I firmly believe will be enjoyed so much more as a "real" copy that you can hold in your hands and smell. I borrowed the copy I read from the library(I actually requested they order it), but it's such a treasure, I hope to add a copy to our keeper shelf. Let's just be honest! I want one for MY shelf! ;) The pictures, done by Charles Vess, are gorgeous. This book is packed full of pictures of various sizes. There's even some 2 page spreads of nothing but a large picture. It's just beautiful, and I want to gush about it!

The story was a pure pleasure to read, too. Once again, I was able to enjoy the lovely writing of De Lint, and it just made me happy. There is such a mixture of folklore, I have to be honest and say I probably didn't "get" all the underlying messages/themes/etc. There is magic and witches within the story, but I love that it *seemed* to point out that God is above and beyond any of that. One little sentence in the story concerning God made me stop and smile.

In case you can't tell, I adored The Cats of Tanglewood Forest. I can't gush enough about it. It's officially the newest book on my "hugworthy" shelf, and I can't wait to read Seven Wild Sisters!
Profile Image for Nafiza.
Author 6 books1,206 followers
February 28, 2013
The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is the kind of folk fantasy that de Lint is most known for. At least, in my circles. His brand of fantasy is half fey, half wild, dealing in ephemeral phases, whimsical. Lillian is a fun character to follow around; she is spunky, adventurous and very opinionated. She will appeal to younger readers for her willingness to travel beyond what is comfortable and take chances where less braver souls would falter.

I particularly like the portion when Lillian first discovers that she has turned into a cat. Her gradual realization and acceptance of this fact feels authentic and funny. The fox is a fun character and makes for a perfect sidekick. The book is a pastiche of different mythologies colliding to create something that is distinct and yet, somehow, feels very Canadian. There is First Nations mythology, there are what seems like Sasquatches and there is transformation.

I like that it is not overtly didactic and though there are some morals, they are hidden within the narrative and not explicit. The illustrations will be amazing in the finished copy. The ARC has rough sketches but I am familiar enough with Charles Vess’s work to be quite confident in the final product without seeing it for myself.

The only thing I found a bit awkward was the twist. I found it rather strained and it had the effect of pulling me out of the narrative as I had to resituate myself in the story. Nevertheless, I found the novel to be interesting and fun. It will appeal to beginning readers with a penchant for fantasy. Recommended.
Profile Image for Andy.
79 reviews1 follower
October 3, 2021
The Cats of Tanglewood Forest was a great read aloud incorporating storytelling and folk tales. It was a great adventure to travel along with Lillian as she solves her cat problem and has to navigate a fantasy world of talking cats, foxes, and bear people that come to life. Charles de Lint does a wonderful job of providing young children with morale philosophy and life skills of navigating difficult decision making as Lillian has to contemplate and figure out for herself what is the best choice that will have the best outcome for her and her Aunt.

I gave 3 stars because the storytelling is great but the writing is a little slow and challenging to stay connected too in the beginning. I found myself having to commit more to staying with the book than having the writing do it for me.

Overall the book is a great storytelling adventure and got my 7 year old hooked on adventure books which if a book can leave a child asking for more is a win.
Profile Image for Mitchell Friedman.
4,571 reviews171 followers
October 25, 2015
A modern fairytale or at least folk tale. This is a story of Aunt Lillian from Seven Wild Sisters, as a child - when she gets bit by a snake and turned into a kitten. Its got that old illustrated book feel, rich and slow. Even the font and the little vines around the page numbers. I'm not sure the story quite works and its aimed oddly - a bit too hard and long for a read-to-self, and not quite for a bedtime-book. But its beautiful - perhaps a grade-school girl would be a better target. But worth paying for a copy of this work of art to sit on my shelves.
Profile Image for Kristi.
400 reviews17 followers
March 26, 2013
This new version of de Lint's and Vess' "A Circle of Cats" is a full length fantasy story that feels old and new at the same time. Charles de Lint has a wonderful way of taking new stories and making them feel as though they've been growing there for years, putting down quiet roots and tapping into the wellsprings of ancient stories. Charles Vess' illustrations are also delightful and while I enjoyed the picture book that this story is based on, I found this expanded story richer and even more textured.
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