The stories and illustrations in Emily Carroll’s book, Through the Woods, put me strongly in mind of childhood, despite (or maybe because of) the gruesome nature of the tales within. The stories and illustrations are rich and detailed, yet just spare enough to leave me grasping and hoping and wishing for more–just a little more story, just a little more explanation, just a little more something that’ll make this feel safe and resolved. Enough to make it feel settled and explained and comfortable.
Of course, these are not stories meant to comfort. These are stories to haunt and linger, for reading in the dark and giggling over to hide that shivery feeling. Carroll captures that unnerving feeling of the forest primeval after you’ve fallen off the edge of the map, and her stories and illustrations have a timeless feeling. They’re like reading fairy tales, but the darker, more violent stories that don’t often make the cut into friendlier, brighter children’s anthologies. (more…)