Read Northwood by Brian Falkner Donovan Bixley Online


The dark forest of Northwood has never seen the likes of Cecilia Undergarment before …Cecilia Undergarment likes a challenge. So when she discovers a sad and neglected dog, she is determined to rescue him. No matter what. But her daring dog rescue lands her in deep trouble. Trouble in the form of being lost in the dark forest of Northwood. A forest where ferocious black liThe dark forest of Northwood has never seen the likes of Cecilia Undergarment before …Cecilia Undergarment likes a challenge. So when she discovers a sad and neglected dog, she is determined to rescue him. No matter what. But her daring dog rescue lands her in deep trouble. Trouble in the form of being lost in the dark forest of Northwood. A forest where ferocious black lions roam. A forest that hides a secret castle, an unlikely king and many a mystery. A forest where those who enter never return. But Cecilia is determined to find her way home. No matter what....

Title : Northwood
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781921529801
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 282 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Northwood Reviews

  • ✿ℎazℯℓ - thℯ ℛock Cℎick ℱairy✿
    2019-06-16 22:58

    This book is like a mixture of Howl's moving castle and Alice in wonderland. A review copy was given to me in exchange for an honest review.The author made this book feel like I'm really watching a movie. Imagine being away from home and just starting your own adventure in a very, very unexpected way...and please take note that she is just 10! That takes guts and a lot of luck! I appreciate the humor in the narration of the story. I also like the twist in the plot. It was something that I could never have predicted. I love Cecilia's adventures. She's a lovely child with a big heart and a lot of wit to back it up. I like how she's never afraid of things and always plans ahead. I could relate to her so much since I am also a planner. It's just way more amazing because she's just 10. The other characters also have substance, especially the dog Rocky and the twins. I like how they made the book more colorful. The antagonists are even entertaining too! I actually love almost everything about this book. Everything but the ending. I don't know if the author plans on having a second book. All I know is that the ending left a lot of things unanswered. It felt abrupt and I was still waiting for something else to happen. I hope there's another epilogue somewhere. :) All in all, I still recommend it to kids and to those who are young at heart. If you would like to read an adventure of a girl and dog with flying balloons in between, give this one a chance. :)

  • Jessika
    2019-05-31 19:56

    Okay, I would have loved this as a kid. This is definitely a book that will appeal to younger readers. But even though this is MG, it was still an entertaining read as an adult. This wasn't a predictable story, I really had no idea how it was going to resolve in the end. I liked how this is a MG story that wasn't "dumbed down for the sake of younger readers. The plot wasn't blatantly obvious, and as a reader, I appreciated that.Cecelia was the kind of main character I would have adored as a kid, and one I can certainly appreciate now, as well. I wouldn't say she's exactly a strong female character because she had moments of fear and uncertainty. But she's tenacious--she didn't give up when a wrench was thrown in her plans. She worked around it. She was clever, and an all-around good kid. She knew what was right, and she knew what King Harry was doing was wrong. Like I said, though, she wasn't all black and white--there were times when she was afraid and didn't know what to do next. I liked the supporting characters as well, especially Avery and Evan. Bickering twins are always fun. Avery was the headstrong and in charge one, while Evan was the one who tried to be the "smart" one but adorably misused big words time and again. There was a good bit of humor in this book, which will definitely keep it light for kids. And to be honest, it was definitely what I would consider "kid" humor. It made me smile, but I wasn't laughing out loud like I would have if I were younger. King Harry was one hilarious "evil" villain. I mean, he was bad, and the kids had to overcome his antics and outsmart him, but with his big belly hanging out in a goofy shirt and a long greasy ponytail, he was pretty laughable. I never felt truly worried by him. Other humor included characters behaving gregariously, like the big hulking mute Tony Baloney going around yelling "Boompah" about everything. And names like Tony Baloney and Cecelia Undergarment? Silly, but kids will love it. Overall, this was an entertaining and whimsical MG read with a cast of engaging characters. I enjoyed it a lot--it only got 4 stars because it's one of those books I know I would have counted a favorite as a kid, but isn't necessarily my favorite as a grown up. Still, I definitely recommend it for younger readers looking for a good adventure with elements of magical realism. *I received a free e-galley of this book from Netgalley for review. This in no way affected my review.

  • Kelly Spoer
    2019-06-13 21:08

    Cute! Oh so cute! I want more!

  • Jim
    2019-05-29 18:19

    One of the two stars is because there is a sammy in the book, the reason i've been wanting to read it for several years.If you're familiar w/sams, this one doesn't behave the way one does. the writing is...Maybe i was expecting too much in wanting a book co-starring a samoyed to be enjoyable , well written or original. The one thing i can write positive is that at least Father Christmas didn't ride up and tell the people that things were about to be better. The art was good.

  • Mara
    2019-06-04 23:57

    This is a review for an uncorrected Advanced Readers Copy.Cover Blurb: Yes or No? The cover art is very charming – as are the illustrations inside. But I wish the story itself had been as charming as the cover art.Characters: To be quite honest, the characters of this novel left extremely fleeting impressions. They weren’t necessarily underdeveloped – there just wasn’t anything to set them apart from the myriad of plucky orphans and plucky twins and plucky girl heroines that populate Middle Grade fiction. Cecilia was brave and plucky and went after answers with satisfying determination. But the most I remember about her is her last name: Undergarment. Rocky the dog she rescues might have been more memorable, but his name is so incredibly common. I kept getting the twins mixed up, and King Harry was downright cartoonish. Not that I expect villains in Middle Grade novels to be as evil and intimidating as they are in Young Adult and Adult novels. But some effort can be made to at least make them somewhat bad.The Romance: There isn’t any!Plot: Cecilia Undergarment lives in a house made out of balloons. And when she goes on a rescue missing to save Rocky the dog from their mean and sinister neighbor, Cecilia and Rocky accidentally go floating off in one of these balloons and straight into Northwood – a scary, dark place where black lions and other unknown dangers lurk. But Cecilia discovers a surprising secret – that Northwood is not as deserted as people thought. The only problem is no one has ever been able to leave Northwood. But Cecilia is anything but determined. I didn’t have any issue with the plot itself, but more with the presentation. The Author tries to create a charming, but quirky, world, with funny character names, oddities in Northwood, and an omnipotent narrator who tells the Reader that adults say Cecilia’s story isn’t true – but they just might be wrong. I love “children’s whimsy,” but Northwood just fell short. I can’t quite put my finger on why. Maybe it was the characters – the names were common and boring and not quite ridiculous enough to be funny. And many of the characters had “isms” that didn’t work, either. Maybe it was the conclusion, but something just didn’t work. It fell short of Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl, or any of the other “children’s whimsy” authors.Believability: Not applicable.Writing Style: Third person, past tense. There is a bit of an omnipotent narrator – the Author – and it’s a technique I have always enjoyed.Content: None.Conclusion: I had an issue with how easily the twists were revealed. Or, rather, how flimsy the “proof” was, but everyone was perfectly willing to accept it as 100% accurate. Paintings are not always the best evidence; sorry. Northwood could have been so much better, and it could have joined the ranks of famously good children’s whimsy books. But it just didn’t quite make it, in my opinion.Recommended Audience: Girl-and-boy read, six-and-up.

  • Kat Thomas
    2019-06-12 23:04 received Northwood by Brian Falkner from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.From the start, I was intrigued by the premise of Northwood. A story about a girl lost in a forest filled with lions? Awesome. But I was still surprised and impressed by the story. Good pacing, some twists and turns and a satisfying conclusion. There were a few loose threads that needed tying, but it didn’t detract from the overall story.Cecilia is a very independent and smart girl living with her father, stepmother and housekeeper in the town of Brookfield. Her father owns a balloon factory and their house is made up of several large balloons, piled high on top of each other. Cecilia is a perfectly normal girl except for one thing. She can talk to and understand animals. One afternoon, Cecilia hears a dog barking in her neighbor’s house and learns that the dog is being mistreated. While trying to rescue the dog (Rocky), the top portion of Cecilia’s house (the attic, made out of a clear balloon) becomes detached from the house and floats away. Cecilia finds herself and Rocky trapped in the balloon, in the nearby forest of Northwood. This is already an inconvenience, because rumors say that no one who enters Northwood is ever seen again – nor anyone who goes looking for those who are lost. What will Cecilia find there? How will she get home?Cecilia is a great character to root for – she thinks things through, she is brave and not afraid to stand up for herself or others. The author does a great job of pacing the book – nothing felt too rushed or too slow. With such an even pace, the story never felt heavy-handed – kids reading the book can think for themselves easily about what’s going on instead of just having everything decided for them by the characters. There was one plot thread that didn’t get resolved and I found it to be an important piece – the story would have rounded off nicely if we had found out what happened at the end.This book is appropriate for readers as young as 9, but more adequately suited for 10-13 year olds, just because of some larger vocabulary throughout the book. A great mystery adventure read for kids (and their parents).

  • Moon Shine Art Spot ~ Lisa
    2019-05-26 22:16

    Northwoodby Brian Falkner (Goodreads Author), Donovan Bixley (Illustrator)3.76 of 5 stars 3.76 · rating details · 116 ratings · 37 reviewsThe dark forest of Northwood has never seen the likes of Cecilia Undergarment before …Cecilia Undergarment likes a challenge. So when she discovers a sad and neglected dog, she is determined to rescue him. No matter what. But her daring dog rescue lands her in deep trouble. Trouble in the form of being lost in the dark forest of Northwood. A forest where ferocious black lions roam. A forest that hides a secret castle, an unlikely king and many a mystery. A forest where those who enter never return. But Cecilia is determined to find her way home. No matter what.(less)Review:I enjoyed reading Northwood by Brian Falkner because of the wonderful storytelling and unforgettable characters. I was provided this book by the publisher for a review. The book is written well and has just enough fairy tale in it to make it appealing. There seems to be a lot going on in the story at times, but it is all neatly worked out in the wonderful ending. Our heroine, Cecilia, has a good heart and can hear animals talk. Another very "fairy tale" item is that she lives in a house made of balloons. At first I thought "this is just going to be too silly & far fetched, but I didn't stop reading. I am very glad I did not give up. Cecilia bravely saves the dog whose human woman had disappeared & Cecilia finds herself in a world (or a wooded area) of no good. I hate spoilers, so I will just say that Cecilia makes some new friends where she lands and discovers some old ones. She & her new friends get into a major adventure and discover a major cover up. Cecilia's bravery continues throughout the book. She is faced with bad adults and hungry lions, as well as a past she did not see coming. This wonderfully a toon packed book is a great read for a mid grader. It has a few illustrations to help carry the story along for young readers who still like a picture now & then. There is enough real life emotion and decision making, friends helping friends, etc. to be both believable and fun with the unbelievable parts. I really liked the story and think mid grade readers will as well.

  • Dorine White
    2019-06-13 01:19

    Cecilia Undergarment lives in a big house shaped like a bunch of balloons. That is because her father is the town's balloon maker. Her neighbor, the mayor, is a grouchy old man that hates everything. Cecilia can't stand how the mayor treats his dog, so one day she rescues it.Unfortunately the mayor knows who to blame and comes right up to Cecilia's house. When she won't give him the dog, he takes a bulldozer to the home. Cecilia and the dog end up floating away in the up most room, which has somehow turned into a life pod. They float all the way into the dark forest of Northwood, and are stranded in a tree.Northwood is a forest of nightmares, rumored to never release its victim's. Its trees are made of tar and black lions roam its depths. Cecilia and the little dog find a small group of lost inhabitants, forced to live under the rule of a greedy king. Everyone bows to do his bidding. Everyone but Cecilia, who brings a little spunk to the group and a determination to escape.My Thoughts-Okay, who can resist a book where the lead character has the last name Undergarment? That name alone is a clue to just how wacky and wild the book will be. Cecilia is truly the life of the story, a little girl determined to stand up for what's right and to not let people bully other people. I love how she stands up to the king and takes chances that no one else will. She is brave and true.There is also an element of fantasy included within the story. Cecilia herself has the unique ability to speak to and understand animals. Something that comes in handy when black lions attack. The story of the abandoned castle in the Northwood's tells of a princess who had the same talent, and Cecilia soon gets some shocks.The last thing I want to give a big thumbs up to are the illustrations by Donovan Bixley. Perfect for younger middle grade readers, the pictures nail it. They truly bring the story to life. Can you imagine a house that looks like a bunch of balloons? No, well, there's an illustration. This book is a great read- 4 stars!

  • Keeley (ABibliophilesJourney)
    2019-06-12 00:23

    A kids book with enough adventure and tension to make anyone enjoy it. Cecilia Undergarment grew up in a balloon house. Not an actual balloon, but a house shaped like a balloon. She also had a secret; she can talk to animals. (Very Eliza Thornberry, I know). One day she was playing in the attic when she heard a dog barking wildly. She couldn't tell what the dog was saying (she has to be able to look at the face of the animals she talks to in order to understand them), but she could tell this dog was upset. The dog belonged to Mr. Procter her next door neighbor. Mr. Procter used to be super nice, but then he opened up Proctermart and become a mean selfish man. The dog, Rocky, was telling Cecilia that he hadn't been fed properly. See, Rocky belong to Mr. Procter's wife but she had disappeared along with their daughter a while ago. Mr. Procter never really cared for the dog, so he wasn't taking the time to feed him. Cecilia was very upset by this and came up with a plan to save Rocky which only angered Mr. Procter into attacking her house with a bulldozer. Cecilia had taken Rocky and the two of them were playing in the attic while this was going on. The attic was built to mimic a balloon and had special compartments both on the inside and the outside that would inflate to save the attic from crumbling into the house if the house was ever damaged. Only, the designer of the house had assumed that if anyone were in the attic when this occurred, they would be the size of adults and not a small girl and an emaciated dog. So Cecilia and Rocky were swept away by the wind while trapped in the attic/balloon. The wind continued to blow them all across the neighborhood until finally setting them down in the most feared area nearby. The Northwood forest. The book tells the story of Cecilia and Rocky as they navigate the Northwood forest and discover its secrets. A quick read that I really enjoyed and highly recommend!

  • Alyssa
    2019-06-04 17:55

    Here is a book I think many readers can adore! "Northwood" is middle grade novel that is enjoyable for all ages. It is a quick, easy read with an easy vocab, short sentences, and few descriptive details. Gorgeously it includes a few pictures which help with a few of the harder to imagine elements of the book. The story is adorable, with a feeling reminiscent of "A Series of Unfortunate Events", and draws you in quickly with it's quirky world.I loved the fairy tale elements. Our MC, Cecilia lives in a house made of balloons! Plus she can understand animals. I was already pretty jealous just after the first few chapters. As you continue to read, we discover an abandoned castle, a missing princess, a totally rude king, and a quest to get back home. "Northwood" has a lot of great character moments. Cecilia was the kind of character who stood up for what was right, defended others, was kind towards all animals, and was clever and brave. All the scary moments included are not that scary. It helps that it was written in the third person. The forest is home to black lions around every corner. They do give chase a few times, and claws and teeth are mentioned. The most 'offensive' bit was that a pistol is used, but not against any living creature. But it is brandished and used and that could cause a scary, tense moment for sensitive readers.For older readers, it is a quick, refreshing read that will spark your imagination and capture your heart for middle grade. An easy 4 stars. I hope this one is discovered by many fans of MG!--I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  • Adele Broadbent
    2019-06-27 00:18

    Celia Undergarment is ten yrs old. Her dad owns a balloon factory and her house is made of giant balloons. Her room is on top – a huge clear balloon. Celia can understand animals and when the neighbour’s Samoyd ‘Rocky’ tells her he’s not being fed since his mistress (Mrs Proctor) left, Celia decides to rescue him. With her nanny’s help she uses balloons to lift Rocky out of his back yard. Mr Proctor is very cross, and jumps into a bulldozer and crashes into their balloon house. Celia’s clear balloon room dislodges, floats away and lands in Northwood – a deep dark forest where people are said to enter and never return....Celia's bravery is tested at every turn. This is a wonderful story complimented by Donovan Bixley's excellent illustrations. Two Kiwi authors working together to weave magic!

  • Taylor
    2019-06-21 20:00

    I was given a free ARC of Northwood from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I was really impressed by this book. I liked it a lot more than I expected I would. Northwood is written for middle schoolers, but I felt so,e of the content was a bit graphic, like animal abuse. They are some fantasy aspects in this book like the main character's ability to converse with animals, the giant balloon house she lives in and the enchanted forest she in which becomes a prisoner. I was worried I would become bored with the story as an adult, but it kept me engaged. It was easy to figure out what direction the story was headed in due to the very strong foreshadowing. Overall, I still liked it and would highly recommend it for middle school readers.I only wish there were more of the beautiful illustrations!

  • Monica
    2019-06-01 21:06

    Cecilia Undergarment converses with animals. That's normal for her, but she's aware it's not normal for everyone. She's quite happy and loved in her life. Due to her talent and compassion, she rescues Rocky, her neighbor's dog, who isn't being appropriately cared for. As a result, mayhem ensues sending she and Rocky off to the frightful Northwood where deeper mysteries await.A delightfully descriptive narrative illustrates scenery, characters, actions, etc allowing a depth of enjoyment for the story and of the characters as they encounter their adventures. The characters are well formed, authentic for this reality, and intriguing.Overall, a fantastically fun story!

  • Paula
    2019-06-23 18:05

    A delightful read! I couldn't put it down. The story was whimsical, a little bit magical, engaging, calm, and suspenseful. The author speaks directly to the reader, middle grade reader, engaging them in the story, and talking in their language and at their level. I immediately fell in love with Celia Undergarment, the main character. She was such a good hearted, kind, brave, ambitious, outspoken, and fiesty little girl. She may be young, but she is smart, develops fantastic plans, and is persistent.I can't wait to read more by this author!

  • Debbie
    2019-05-31 19:10

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Cecilia Undergarment is an ordinary girl – except for the fact that she lives in a balloon house, and can talk to animals. I found this book fun and truly enjoyable to read. Falkner’s creativity and imagination makes this fantastic story come alive. The illustrations found throughout the book are gorgeous, and lend a greater depth to the story. I loved the narration style, and the sense of clever humor found throughout. Truly a fantastic read for young readers.

  • Bekka
    2019-06-14 20:00

    Thanks to and Capstone Young Readers for early access to this title.3 1/2 stars - this was quite a cute story! I enjoyed the narration, which is done in a colloquial way to replicate a person talking. The story line is enjoyable and suspenseful, and the ending is quite satisfactory. There are some loose ends that don't get resolved, however, particularly in regards to the neighbors. I would have liked to see that situation addressed and summed up. But overall this is a fun story that kids would enjoy.

  • Cheri
    2019-06-05 22:59

    This was a great story, but was surprisingly far less "fantasy" and much more "adventure" than I thought it would be. All of the fantastical elements were explained using speculative science, so it was even a little more like science fiction than fantasy. I really liked how strong the characters were, and how complicated the plot twists became. It wasn't a phenomenal work of literature, but certainly worth the read!

  • Mrs Bond
    2019-06-21 01:01

    Something about the writing style reminds me of Lemony Snicket, fans will likely enjoy this tale. The narrator is almost conversational with the reader, calming walking us through harrowing events. Suggested for grades 3+.

  • Gracie La
    2019-06-01 20:22

    This is my favourite book that I have ever read. I love the mystery and how she lives in a house of balloons. I especially like her travelling companion. I hate the king And I think that the lions are awesome.

  • Jeannie
    2019-06-02 23:05

    A definite "two thumbs up" for middle school readers!

  • Dulcier
    2019-06-15 21:21

    It was fantastic my fave book ever

  • Alanah
    2019-05-28 02:21

    OMG!!! Best book in the world!! Full of adventure, when reading this book I can just imagine the pictures in my head with all the details they give you, it was so good I gave it to my mum to read and she couldn't put the book down!! She loved it and so did I, it not a very long book but still it took me about 5-8 days to read. ( with all the extra bits of having to put it down due chores and stuff like that) AWESOME BOOK!!

  • Haeja
    2019-06-12 20:17

    *ARC received via Netgalley from Capstone Young Readers.I decided to read Brian Falkner's middle-grade fiction story, Northwood, to cleanse my palate after reading so many romance and paranormal books this year. I haven't read middle-grade fiction in such a long time, and I kept asking myself how I could possibly relate to the characters when they're a decade younger than me. But Northwood just proved me wrong.Northwood is one of those books that reminded me that no matter how old I may be now, there is still that child in me that can relate to my younger days. My inner child kicked to the fore and I started to imagine that I was right there with Cecilia, running around the forest maze, away from the black lions, and living in a castle. It seems no matter what age I am, I'm still dreaming of being royalty and wearing a tiara.Cecilia Undergarment is nothing extraordinarily special, aside from the fact that she can talk to animals and she's good with plans. I think a lot of precocious kids will be able to relate to her because really, are there kids who don't talk to animals? Even some adults, myself include, still talk to animals. Cecilia's knack for making plans is also something that I think kids will be familiar with. I really liked the character, and that she was kind and very helpful. There was no character development going on here, but rather more of a testament to her smarts and ability to think of good plans at such a young age. There's a rather nice twist in the ending, which I did suspect when the hints were dropped here in there, but this wasn't a mystery book anyway and it gave me a good feeling when my suspicion was confirmed.There is not much humor in the book, and while the story sounds fantastical, as the omniscient narrator says, everything had a really rather good explanation for why there's a perpetual dark mist over the forest, why there's an undiscovered castle, and why there was a surge of black lions in that particular forest. The slight bit of humor in Northwood comes in the form of the twins who kept trying to one-up each other all throughout the book.The build-up to the whole story was very good; but the ending was quite rushed. I only just read the revelations when I saw the page number and saw that I was nearing the end. I couldn't believe my eyes, because I felt like there was more that needed to be said. Well, the ending turned out fine but there was no resolution to the Proctors, which should have been included, especially at it was due to them (quite) that Cecilia was in the dark forest in the first place.The book has a few illustrations, but even without them, the forest, the castle, and the perpetually fighting twins came alive in my mind. I attribute that to Brian Falkner's writing talent. The cover of the book is almost very spot on. I was thinking that all it lacks are the twins somewhere and a castle in the distance, but then I realized the cover is already perfect as it is.Northwood reminded me of younger times when I dreamt about running around the world, just having fun and having adventures. Then reality and adulthood takes over, and suddenly there are more 'you can't do that anymore, you're not a kid anymore' admonitions from people around us. The story was told lightly but the implications were a bit serious -- what if Cecilia never found a way to get back? What if Harry killed them all? What if they were truly eaten by a lion? But these are questions that an adult usually asks. I think that, for kids, there is always that wellspring of hope and belief that everything will turn out right, and you should have fun along the way.Even if for a few hours, I was somehow able to let go of all the stress and weariness that responsibility brings, and I have Northwood to thank for that.

  • Rachael
    2019-06-11 02:21

    It was a great book, but I'd prefer it for younger aged children.

  • Karissa
    2019-06-20 00:09

    I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley. Originally it was put in with the graphic novels there, which this is not a graphic novel. It ended up being an okay middle grade read with some excellent artwork throughout.Cecilia Undergarment is a unique girl who lives in a unique balloon shaped house. Oh, and she can talk to animals. When she sees that her neighbors dog is incredibly unhappy she is determined to rescue the dog. When she rescues the dog some unfortunate events occur that lead to her balloon bedroom floating away into Northwood. In Northwood Cecilia finds a strangely primitive community of people led by an unlikely king. Many of the people are people who have disappeared from town. Cecilia is determined to return home, but once you enter never leave.This book had some good points. The way the narration is done is very snarky and funny...somewhat similar to A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz in tone. Some of the stuff in Cecila’s life is quirky to the point of craziness….her balloon house and the way it floats away, her name, these things were highly amusing and made me laugh. There is some wonderful artwork throughout the book that I really enjoyed and I liked the way the book was laid out.However I had some problems with the story. It was very simplistic and incredibly contrived. Cecilia ends up in Northwood and tries to rally the troops to leave.Would all these people really just hang out in a forest forever slaving away? Would all of them really follow a king who seems to be stuck in the 1970’s? The King is a major jerk and very mean and what would these people tolerate that? Also would black lions really thrive in a forest like this? Supposedly the black lions are the reason people can’t leave…And then of course, Cecilia, ends up being a descendant of the original castle we didn’t see that coming….There isn’t a ton of magic in the story; mostly magical realism. Almost everything that happens in here has a normal (if not plausible) explanation. The only really “magical” element is Cecilia's ability to understand animals.I don’t know, the book is okay and the story is okay, I just found myself a bit disappointed at the end of it all. It was too simplistic, too contrived, and just not all that interesting of a story. Younger readers will probably enjoy it a bit more.Overall an okay read. The illustrations are well done and the humor throughout is entertaining. The story itself is pretty simple and predictable. Some of the things in here are a bit too over the top and I didn’t really enjoy the characters all that much. This is a quick read and when I was done I kind just felt like “Eh, okay that’s over with”. I wouldn’t really recommend this book, there are a ton of better middle grade fantasy reads out there. Check out the Spiderwick Chronicles for a easy middle grade read with great illustration and an excellent story and characters.

  • Sharon Tyler
    2019-06-12 00:13

    Northwood is a middle grade novel written by Brian Falkner and illustrated Donovan Bixley. Cecilia Undergarment discovers that the dog next door is being mistreated. She is determined to help him, but her daring rescue sends her and the dog, Rocky, on an amazing adventure into the dark forest called Northwood. This forest is rumored to be home to black lions, and no one that goes in seems to come back out again. Cecilia and Rocky discover even bigger mysteries about the forest, like a castle and people that live seemingly trapped there by the maze and lions. Can Cecelia figure out the mysterious of the forest and find her way home, or will she having the leading role in the next mysterious disappearance story?Northwood begins in Cecelia's neighborhood, and her strange home made of balloons. Then comes the fact that she can talk to animals, and needs to rescue the poor dog next door. Somehow these facts come together and lead to Cecelia and Rocky floating away into the depths of the Northwood, and beginning an even more dangerous trek through the dark wood. I loved that all the strangeness found in Cecelia's life and the Northwood are eventually explained, but that process does not take away the wonder that their existence brings. Black lions, the mysterious fog, impossibly hard trees, and more are all introduced and explained wonderfully. The characters and language are used extremely well and left me feeling like I am missing the magic that might be hiding the the world around me.I think Cecelia is a great character, she is smart and strong minded. I think that her tenaciousness and flexibility to do what needs to be done in order to do the right thing makes her a great role model. Evan's love of and misuse of big words, Avery's personality, and the variety of other characters come together nicely to make the story exciting and fun to read. There is plenty of 'kid' humor- with names like Tony Baloney and Cecilia Undergarment how can you doubt it. However, there is also a message about doing the right thing (particularly when it is not easy) and some sensitive topics handled beautifully. The setting descriptions are very well done, and the illustrations are equally delightful. The book is an all around win, with my only disappointment being that there were still some lose ends that I would like to have seen tied up at the end.I greatly enjoyed Northwood and would highly recommend it to middle grade readers, and just about everyone that enjoys fantasy like fiction that feels like it could happen because of the writing style. Fans of Lemony Snickett style asides and getting a few good snickers out of silly names and such will particularly enjoy the story.

  • Sarah Miller
    2019-06-12 22:01

    Northwood was a beautiful, beautiful book!I debated between four and five stars only because of this: I teach 7th grade, and it is a bit more of a challenge for me to rate a book that falls on the younger end of the spectrum. But after thinking of myself when I was younger, and some of my students who I'd recommend this to, I went for five stars.Here were some of my favorite things about Northwood:- The language. Falkner's vocabulary is so lovely. His word choices are precise (unless it is Evan speaking, of course, in which case, it's funny!) and he doesn't shy away from words that, on their own, may be unfamiliar. The beauty of Falkner's vocabulary is that much of the meaning can be determined by context clues. If I were doing this as a read aloud, I'd try to find a vocabulary lesson as a companion to the text because it lends itself so well to such instruction.- The setting. Both Northwood and Cecelia Undergarment's neighborhood are portrayed in vivid detail. You see, Cecelia lives in a house built together in a series of balloons. One awful day, Cecelia's attic balloon pops free, and she and Rocky the Samoyed float into the dark, foggy Northwood forest. Falkner's descriptions of Northwood bring the reader right into this imagined forest - and he even offers up 'logical' explanations of the illogical. There are many mysteries to Northwood, and he illuminates them - but it doesn't make them less magical. The black lions, the constant fog, the impossibly hard tarblood trees... Falkner provides entertaining reasons for their being.- The characters. Cecelia is an engaging character, and much of the story revolves around her. When Cecelia overhears a dog's cries that it is hungry, she moves into action. Yes - she hears the dog's complaints, because Cecelia can communicate with animals. One thing I found admirable about Cecelia's character is that she always tried the honest, direct route first - and would come up with creative solutions later. She's willing to tackle adventure, yes, though she's also willing to be truthful, before anything else. Then, we've got the constantly bickering twins, who bring humor to Northwood. Their sibling rivalry is funny, and Falkner gives these twins distinct personalities. Of course, Evan is my personal favorite because he tries to use interesting words... and he uses them ALMOST right. The King is a bit of an over the top kind of character, but is entertaining, and despite his faults, so fun.This book is done just right. It's a beautiful combination of lovely language, setting, characters, and plot. I'll be sure to recommend it to some of my readers!

  • Caitlin
    2019-05-28 18:58

    Northwood by Brian Falkner1. The story mainly took place in Northwood. It’s a place where nobody can escape from. Cecilia somewhere finds herself in an odd and strange place. The main character is Cecilia and the minor characters are Avery and Evan.2. I feel like the characters in the book seem unbelievable because the people have been stuck in the woods for a long time. The King didn’t even help the people of Northwood get out of the place. The King was the only one who knew the way out of Northwood. King Harry was super selfish. He wouldn’t show or tell the people for a way to get out of Northwood.3. I picture Cecilia in my mind like she has boots, shoulder-length hair, a skirt, leggings, a vest, a striped long-sleeved shirt, and pigtails (There’s picture of her on the cover). 4. “ ‘Oh my word,’ said Cecilia. It wasn’t the sort of thing she’d usually say, but it sounded quite appropriate for the circumstances. ‘ Oh my word, that’s truly horrible. How could someone treat such a beautiful dog that way? How could he treat any dog that way?” This tells us that Cecilia is helpful and caring. She cares for animals too. She wants to take care of endangered animals for her own. She has a big heart for animals.SPOILER ALERT!!!5. Cecilia became a queen by talking to the lions that were about to eat Avery and Evan. She begged the lions for not to eat Avery and Evan. The lions have agreed that they won’t eat them for just that day. Avery and Evan have figured out that she was actually a princess who could talk to animals. Avery, Evan, and Cecilia stood up to King Harry. They kicked King Harry out of Northwood. Cecilia became the queen. Cecilia found a rock that would open the passageway that would lead them back to their real homes. 6. I liked the book because they have been trapped for a long time but the special person (Cecilia) found out a way for the people of Northwood to get out. I liked how she can talk to animals. My favorite part of the book is when they found out that King Harry has his own place in the castle where he can get the things the rest of the people of Northwood can’t get like pizza, electricity, and television.7. I think the theme of the story is that there will always be a way out of a problem. An example is when Cecilia found the rock that was blocking the path to the way back home and then Tony Baloney pushed the rock away. They had their freedom and nobody would control them.

  • Pop Bop
    2019-05-30 02:20

    A Great Heroine; A Ripping AdventureThis might sound odd at first, but - one of the most appealing aspects of this book, to my mind, is that it is both calm and exciting. By that I mean that it is filled with derring do, adventure, thrills and suspense, and yet it is presented in an elegant, understated and comforting fashion. I attribute that primarily to the narrator, who speaks directly to the young reader and who comments regularly on the action, the story, the characters, and related matters. (The narrative voice reminds me a great deal of Sterling Holloway and Sebastian Cabot, the premiere narrators of early Disney cartoons like Winnie the Pooh. Sterling was the one with the high-pitched shaky sort of voice and Sebastian Cabot had the deep round voice.) In any event, the effect is both inviting and gripping, and results in a fine entertainment. It also contributes to one's sense that this is a fantasy story that is being told to you by a storyteller, and I think that sometimes that is a very effective way for a younger reader to ease into reading.The story starts on a very whimsical footing, with our heroine living in the family's balloon shaped house, (since Father is the leading maker of balloons). I was a bit concerned that this was going to descend into twee preciousness. But not to worry, the balloon house, or rather its collapse, is what sets our heroine floating off to her various adventures. Once the plot is set in motion we, both literally and figuratively, come back down to earth.And what a ripping yarn is spun. A dark forest, an abandoned castle, underground tunnels, secrets, companions, dangerous beasts, a quest to return home, a loyal dog sidekick, and much much more. And, we get a heroine worthy of such an adventure. Cecilia is smart, determined, polite, stubborn, resourceful and loyal. She is plucky and undaunted by danger or obstruction. She is a marvelous middle grade adventurer.All of this is wrapped up very nicely in accomplished but restrained prose that is direct, for the younger reader, but peppered with sly asides and subtle observations for the amusement of older readers. The overall effect is engaging and rewarding and I can easily imagine a young reader taking Cecilia to heart.A very happy find. Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

  • Sophie C
    2019-05-29 22:07

    Northwood is about a girl who works for a balloon factory so her house is made of balloons. All colors, even transparent. One day her attic comes off of her roof and she is stuck in a forest so she needs to find a way out.Cecilia Undergarment is the main character, a 10 year old girl who can interact with animals Cecelia’s attic floats off of her house and she ends up in a forest that is known for people never returning. She tries to find a way out and she finds where all the missing people have been living. They have been in a kingdom with a cruel king. She couldn’t get out because people were too afraid of the king to do something like that. Also because they might get lost in the woods and die. I think my favorite character in this story is Cecelia because she is really brave because she stands up for people before herself, especially those who cannot endure it. I think I can relate to the pregnant woman who got in trouble for giving birth during harvest season because the king thought of it as lazy. I think I have a connection with her because I have always been blamed for things that I didn’t do. I was always punished for no reason. Although, sometimes my friends come in and try to tell them that it wasn’t my fault or something. It made me feel happy. I think I felt a little bit like Cecelia because she grew up in the modern society so when she went to the kingdom where everything has not been modified. For example. When I went to Korea for the first time which was still more traditional. I had to go out into the country side with my cousin to her father’s side grandparent’s house. They did a lot of things that I found a bit strange. Just like Cecelia.What I found interesting about this book are the plot twists. I think that they are really interesting and in a way stupid. I thought this because I really thought that the plot twists would be more spooky or mysterious but they were more surprising than I thought they would be. My favorite part of this book was the part where they defeated the evil king and bring the trapped people back to society. My least favorite part is nothing, I loved the entire book. If there was a part that I could change, I would change the beginning because I think it’s really stupid how Cecilia's house is made of balloons.