Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Cottage in the Woods

The Cottage in the Woods

Spring 2015 Fiction
Ages: 10 - 13 yrs.
Author: Katherine Coville
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 978-0385755733
Hardcover Price: $14.95

Jane Austen meets the Brothers Grimm in this enjoyable take on a timeless classic.

The story is told by Ursula, a young bear fresh out of college. She's been hired as the new governess for Teddy, the only son of a wealthy and respected landowner and his wife. They are the three bears and they live in the Enchanted Forest, a place where you might run into Mr. Pumpkin Eater on a walk, or cross paths with the frightening old woman who lives in a shoe.

Ursula's job is daunting. Mr. Vaughn (Papa Bear) is demanding. The household staff is gossipy. The cantankerous nurse, an elderly badger, has it out for her and strange things happen in the night.

There's also trouble brewing in the woods between the humans and the enchanteds, and while this is a vivid and imaginative fantasy tale, it also addresses real social issues without feeling heavy-handed. The characters are well-developed and the fairy tale references are delightful but not gratuitous. It's a rich and rewarding book that would pair nicely with a plate of Oreos and a cozy stack of pillows.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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