We've just finished reading "Wildwood" by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis. It took us a ridiculous amount of time, given that is 576 pages and we read it only at bedtime, every other night, (Rob reads a different book with them on his nights). I think it is safe to say we all loved it. I especially loved it, and it was hard for me not to take it to bed myself after the kids had gone to sleep. It will definitely be a book we purchase to keep, and I've just learned there are two more in the series of Wildwood Chronicles. I can't wait! The book was full of woods magic and fantasy, but with a modern world twist, and in a fairy tale manner different from Harry Potter or other recent fantasy books I've read. It was a bit dark in places and has a long battle scene, but was not so gruesome that I regretted reading it with a 4 year old nearby. He does have a thing for dark stories and can handle more drama than most 4 yr. olds, so I wouldn't really recommend it for preschooler--but was fantastic for Wylie and Juni. Also, it is written by the lead singer of the Decemberists, who rock--so we knew it would be good.
* Since writing this two days ago Juni has had one scary dream that seems directly related to this book. I still stand by the recommendation though. And, I forgot to mention three of the most awesome things about this book: the protagonist is a girl, her parents are neither wicked, nor dead (why do they always have to kick of the parents?) and the illustrations alone make it worth reading. Check it out. If your kids are too young, read it yourself.
On Wednesday we had a bit of woods magic ourselves. On a walk through the woods to the neighbors field for sledding (its pretty flat, so is only fun when there's a good crust, and a hefty push) we found a decomposing blue jay. This was magical not because we delight in rotting flesh--the parts of the skeleton visible were pretty cool--but because Juniper is just finishing up a research project on blue jays and had been wanting some feathers.
Then, feet a way from the jay, we found a dropped antler. It is a beautiful 4 point (I've since learned) and must have come from a healthy, large buck. We searched for the matching one but didn't find it. I guess deer rarely drop two antlers at once, but we'll go back later this week to see if perhaps he's lost the other since.
Later that afternoon we were driving to a friends when an owl flew across an open field--directly into our car. I could see it coming, but since it was coming from the side I couldn't stop or swerve to avoid him. The smack was loud and I was instantly sick with the thought of having killed the owl. This is the second owl to have flown into a car I've been in.
Fortunately we stopped and found the owl sitting upright in the road. As I approached to help him off the road he hopped, spread his wings, and flew to the edge of the road. A few minutes later he flew again, farther this time, taking shelter under some small pines. Amazingly, thankfully, he seemed unhurt. It was magical to get to see him up so close, and to watch him fly off after the incident. And, a friendly stranger with a camera happened to stop as well, and sent us this lovely picture of him.
photo by our roadside stranger