4 out of 4 stars
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Of the Woods is a very funny retelling of a few characters from a few well-known children’s books. This is a story of a remarkable “family tree” that was cut down by Tin Woodman [the name of the character] and split apart into five individual logs. When these five logs had fallen from the sky in front of Miguel, a “master sculptor of wood and artful painter”, he soon learns that they are not ordinary logs but a girl, two boys and their parents. He carves them accordingly. All five wooden puppets can speak just like normal people; the children can also move about freely. Their parents are carved as Greek gods candlesticks and are attached to the solid base.
Needless to say that Sophie, Spruce and Redbud – the children - behave as real children, and as real children, they soon put themselves into an adventure. The adventure begins when Mama and Papa – the candlesticks - are kidnapped by a dodgy pair of characters, the Foxy Lady and her friend Chester. Miguel and the children are determined to find Mama and Papa, albeit for different reasons. However, in the case of kidnapping, professional expertise is required. So enter the detectives from a “private eye” detective agency, with one of the detectives being completely blind.
I must admit that I had some difficulties to read this book because on almost every page I had to stop and laugh until I had a hiccup. You can imagine that for the sake of my health I had to terminate my reading and recover. Dennis Sanchez presented each of his hilarious characters as unique and distinguished personalities with their own exclusive traits and passions. Take Redbud, a puppet made of wood, who was obsessed with fire. I particularly liked how the author used some quite recognisable storylines and played with them in a very humorous and quite exceptional way. Although the book was very witty and quite easy to read, it explored several serious subjects and themes, such as family bond, loyalty and friendship, crime and its consequences.
My only criticism concerns page 46. The beginning of the chapter was written in the first-voice of Toto, the dog, while the rest of the book was written in the third-person voice. The narrative in that passage was presented as a dream about some unidentified beautiful lady. I got confused what was the relevance of that dream to the rest of the story. I have no criticism about the rest of the book.
I will happily give Of the Woods 4 out of 4 stars and recommend the book for children aged 10+ and for adults of any age.
Of the Woods
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