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The Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  227 ratings  ·  59 reviews
A book much like the mysterious, inviting woods it describes. Step in to find friendship, magic, and surprises.

A little girl who can only sleep during the day grows from something of an isolated town oddity to the heiress of an ancient legacy of magic and music.

Exquisitely illustrated, this gentle, satisfying young fantasy is filled with unforgettable, quirky characters an
Hardcover, 215 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2011)
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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  227 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Gray Cox
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Awww, this was ✨magical.✨✨ I remember why I loved it so much. 💕

Would highly recommend for all ages!
Beth Knight
Oct 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I took turns reading this book out loud at bedtime with my husband. The story was cute but I found my mind wandering when it was my hubby's turn to read. I'm not much of an auditory learner, I absorb" things more readily when I read things in print myself, so I think that's why I feel like half the time I couldn't follow the storyline.
Really more like a 3.5, but my students love it so I'll round up.

Good--things unexplained are explained/mysteries revealed later on, like where the rats got instruments and how they learned to play from the moon king (page 179)
Lots of things that seem wacky come full circle--vegetables, home under the school

Interesting, enjoyable characters. Care about what happens to them, keeps you reading

Not so good--confusing/complicated plot, might be hard to remember all of the details about the many chara
Sarah Vecchi
I struggled with some of the fantastical elements in this book. It's was very original, but some of the originality came across as nonsense or absurdity, and I'm not a huge fan of either. Interesting for middle grade readers who want some mystery and fantasy, but not fully satisfying, with a rather quick wrap-up ending.
Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love books like The Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root, that have the right formula of scary and adventure all wrapped in to one. I also loved the musical aspect of the book, as our main character Carly meets a rat playing the fiddle on her roof one night. She's an unusual girl already, who cannot seem to sleep at night no matter what and falls asleep constantly during school. What she finds out is that the wonderful, harmless music-playing rats are now disappearing into the claws of the owls, ...more
Vincent Desjardins
I was seeking out books illustrated by the wonderful Rebecca Bond when I came across “The Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root,” an imaginative tale of nighttime adventures by Christopher Pennell. As I flipped through the book and saw Bond’s amazing pen and ink illustrations, I knew I wanted to read this book. The illustrator, who sadly, recently died at the young age of 45, has provided this magical story with illustrations that manage to be both cozy and mysterious, while at the same time, pull yo ...more
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
Now, this is a book that you should go out and put in the hands of your kiddies.

I, being past that stage and all, can't become as enthralled as they'd be.

This book has all the stuff that my little self was once enamored with. Still am, sometimes.

Talking beasts; evil, non-understanding adults; good adults and a girl who doesn't sleep at night. Can't sleep at night. And the two main kids have freaky names. Bitter and Green.

Such unfortunate lives they live.

The main character is one with whom we a
Oct 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Carly Bean Bitters, an eleven-year-old orphan, has always been different. She sleeps during the day and stays awake at night, which is problematic during the school year. One night she hears music on the roof and upon investigating comes upon a rat named Lewis. From that moment on, Carly finds herself thrust into a fantastic world beyond her wildest dreams—a world in which she might play a vital role. The mysterious woods in Whistle Root are changing, and the animals and even the people are in d ...more
Jul 18, 2013 rated it liked it
The Mysterious Woods Of Whistle Root
Christopher Pennell

My"in a nutshell" summary...

A sweet little orphan is befriended by musical rats and has an amazing adventure!

My thoughts after reading this book...

Carly Bean Bitters meets some unusual music loving rats and the next thing we know...she is playing music with them and running off to the forest with them. She has a hard time sleeping at night, she doesn't have much to eat and there is not much happiness in her life until she meets the rat on
Lafourche Parish Library
The Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root by Christopher Pennell, illustrated by Rebecca Bond (Ages 8-12)

Carly Bean Bitters lives in the small town of Whistle Root, where rats play musical instruments on rooftops when the moon is full. Usually owls dance to the magical music, but things have been changing and the rat musicians are disappearing. Lewis has been playing on Carly’s rooftop and invites her to fill in for the missing musicians. With the help of Green Pitcher, a friend from school, Carly se
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
The quote on the cover states that it is in the vein of E.B. White. I completely agree with that. Especially since I just finished The Trumpet of the Swan by White. The style and pacing were very similar. Incredibly creative, but presented simply, not at all trying to be pretentious, as so many fantasy books try to be these days.

It was darker than White's books, and even though I'm an adult, I'm a major scaredy cat and can't deny I was completely wigged out by the grimblebeast. Rebecca Bond's il
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
flying rats playing music on roofs with an orphan girl who can't sleep at night, I do like the idea of vegetables as stand in musicians, odd little middle grade fantasy. These rats are much more appealing that your average Dallas roof rats!
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm in love with the illustrations like woooaaaaahh
May 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Cute and charming but definitely meant more for the Middle Grade age group. Not one that an adult Middle Grade reader could enjoy as much.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Two and a half stars for a book that could have been so much more. Very much a first novel, it's a shame the author didn't get a bit more editorial advice...or maybe he got too much? I loved the beginning...I too am a "night child" who spends her nights reading because she simply can't sleep. (I avoid the hot tea though, as caffiene wouldn't help matters). The rats putting vegetables on the roofs to replace members of the band was interesting, but the farther we get into the tale, the scrappier ...more
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting story. Well written. Good for young readers.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a nice quick Middle School age book. I would definitely recommend.
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Carly can't sleep at night. It is impossible for her and this makes her life hard. It means she rarely sees the aunt she lives with. Being 11 she still has to go to school and trying to sty awake for the lessons is nearly impossible. Her teacher is not very patient and her classmates stay away from her because she is peculiar.

She is different, but that difference is what allows her to see and notice things no one else does. She sees the squash on the roof. She hears the music in the breeze and
Bluerose's  Heart
Quick Thoughts: This is a quirky, clever little story, with a fairy tale feeling. It kind of reminded me of Alice in Wonderland at times, which is what I'm now reading on my kindle. I liked it!

Full Thoughts:

It was the title of a 2 star review at Amazon that made me grab The Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root, without a moment's hesitation! ("Bad" reviews aren't always such a bad thing, even if I didn't read the whole review!) Labeling a book "weird" is pretty much a sure way to get me to read it
Oct 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Did I enjoy reading The Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root? Yes. Very much. I found it a quick, compelling, delightfully atmospheric fantasy for middle graders.

Here's how it begins: "In a small town called Whistle Root, rats play music in the moonlight." It was a curious way to start a book, in my opinion, and it got me reading. (And this despite the OWL on the cover.)

Carly, the heroine, has trouble sleeping at night. If left alone, she'd gladly sleep all day, stay awake all night. Even if stayi
J.S. Green
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-elem-mg, vine
Carly Bean Bitters, a girl who is awake all night and sleeps during the day, lives in the unusual town of Whistleroot, which is named after the ancient whistleroot trees that grow outside town. Little whistles grow on the roots of the trees and the leaves are shaped like bells. But that's not all that's unusual in Whisteroot - rats also play music from the rooftops in the moonlight, and lately more and more vegetables like squash and onions are showing up on peoples roofs, too. But Carly and her ...more
DWRPL | Great for any young middle grade reader who feels like they've been reading the same stories over and over. | There do tend to be trends in fiction. For awhile we were awash in dystopian YA, and HP-wannabes still proliferate. But even beyond that, there often seems to be a sameness about books for young readers. It's part of why I've always loved Diana Wynne Jones so much: her books were never ordinary and they were always unexpected. Whistle Root was definitely unusual, and enjoyable. H ...more
James Webster
Sep 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, childrens
This story has plenty of unusual characters and an imaginative setting. What keeps it from being a really good story is 1) a main character who is so absorbed in her fantasy world she has little emotional response to the weird stuff happening around her, and 2) despite being a quick, 215-page read, it's not exactly a page turner. Events seem to be strung together without much sense of them leading anywhere, so the climax feels oddly flat. Ironically, though the main character is a girl who can't ...more
Eleven-year-old Carly Bean Bitters spends her days and nights alone until she meets a musical rat named Lewis and a strange boy named Green. Together they face the evil griddlebeast with its whispers that prompt others to fall asleep or do its bidding. Carly is the unlikely heroine in this book as she finds courage to save the woods from destruction. Could it be that there is magic right underfoot? I liked how the characters, humans and animal, are drawn in this story. It's hard not to feel symp ...more
May 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
(BULLY) A sweet, "old timey" story that reminds me of Alice in Wonderland. Full of fanciful beasts and strange happenings. The girl always sleep in daytime, which for some reason everyone around her is extremly intolerant of. She is lonely and ends up befriending some musical playing rats. The rats home is threatened by owls and a ' griddlebeast'. She makes friends with a boy who helps her to discover the history and story behind the forest where she lives. Simple story that moves at a pretty go ...more
Angie Rhodes
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
I know this is aimed at children, but everyone needs something fun to read, and this is a lovely story, full of Magic,
Carly lives in the town of Whistle Root and has trouble sleeping at night, so sleeps in the day, and this little oddity, enables her to have an adventure, one that will lead to music playing rats, and a mystery deep in the Woods of Whistle Root.
Everyone who has a bit if the child still in them, will enjoy this book, Me? I'm off to see what else Christopher Pennelll has written
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you're a girl like Carly Bean Bitters (awake during the night and asleep during the day), you notice when the mice play on rooftops on moonlight nights. When the mice begin disappearing and vegetables appear in their places, you become curious. It turns out the owls, who had once enjoyed and even danced to the mice music, are now carrying off the musicians at an alarming rate. Suddenly Carly is involved in the mystery of the strange woods around her town. Spooky and strange and completely del ...more
Sep 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is probably meant for kids a lot younger than me. But I thought it was great, still. I think people will enjoy the mystery and the magic.
Aspects of the book are a bit unbelievable, but I don't think that's a problem. It's magical and funny and has a great sense of mystery. I think the author gets into the adventure a bit too early, though, but after that, the story really flows. It isn't very intense.
This is probably a good book for people who like nature. Talking rats and imaginary en
L.K. Perilin
Aug 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Children grades 4-6
Shelves: childrens, fantasy
Carly is a young orphan who sleeps during the day and is awake at night. This creates problems at school. She befriends a musical rat named Lewis who is part of a 3 rat band. Two band members are missing so he enlists the help of Carly and a vegetable stand-in. The two of them along with a friend from Carly's school unravel the mysteries and history of the Woods as well as their own.
This story has magic hats, strange creatures, hidden doors, and mysterious trees that emit smoke, ring, and who's
Jul 10, 2016 rated it liked it
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