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Down the Mysterly River Hardcover – September 13, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1040L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Starscape; First Edition edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765327929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765327925
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #724,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for the works of Bill Willingham:

Winner of 14 Eisner Awards

2003 Eisner Award for Best New Series

2004 YALSA Quick Picks Selection for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

2007 YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection

2009 Best Writer Eisner for writing on Fables and House of Mystery

2009 Hugo nomination for Best Graphic Story

“Eisner-winning comics creator Willingham (the Fables series) makes his middle-grade debut with an action-packed and often touching novel...that explores the nature of characters and authorship…The end result is a stellar example of a novel working both as an adventure tale and as metafiction.”—Starred review, Publishers Weekly

“Willingham’s Fables comics tapped into the deep fairy-tale structures in my psyche and never let go. Now, Down the Mysterly River finally delivers the same opportunity for younger readers. Lucky them!”—Cory Doctorow, New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother

From the Publisher

In his Heroes Wood, Bill Willingham has created an enchanting new land of magic and adventure that might lie just down the river from Toad Hall, down the road from Narnia, or over the hill from the Hundred Acre Wood. Willingham gives us deadly sword fights, narrow escapes, lethal traps, surprising betrayals, and all of the other necessary elements of a thrilling adventure tale. But at its heart this is also a mystery story, and if the four fugitives can’t first solve the mystery of the Heroes Wood they may never live to reach sanctuary. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Bill Willingham never fought a desperate and losing battle in a good cause, never contributed to society in a meaningful way, and hasn't lived a life of adventure, but he's had a few moments of near adventure. At some point in his life Bill learned how to get paid for telling scurrilous lies to good people, and he's been doing it ever since. He lives in the wild and frosty woods of Minnesota.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
27
4 star
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3 star
7
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See all 60 customer reviews
This was a highly enjoyable young adult book about adventure, talking animals and being who you want to be.
Amazon Customer
In any case, Willingham's children's fantasy, Down the Mysterly River, is an exciting adventure story with a wonderful mixture of fairy tale and detective mystery.
S. Duke
Enough to leave you guessing, or to allow a better detective to figure out the mystery, which is tied up very nicely at the end of the story.
Shanella

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Keymer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Max the Wolf was a wolf in exactly the same way that foothills are made up of real feet and a tiger shark is part tiger, which is to say, not at all. Max was in fact a boy, between twelve and thirteen years old, and entirely human. He was dressed in a Boy Scout uniform."

Thus begins the adventures of Max the Wolf, not a wolf at all, as the author clarifies at the beginning of this book, but an earnest, resourceful young Boy Scout, who is prepared for every eventuality and always carries in his pockets his Lost Kit -"a dozen strike-anywhere matches, a candle, a roll of fishing line with two hooks, a few bandages in sterile wrappings, and a needle and thread," with a length of twine wrapped tightly around the outside of the watertight package- and trusty Boy Scout knife.

The story Willingham narrates is utterly charming. I use the word "charming" in both senses: what happens in this small scale odyssey is both charming to read and seems, somehow, to have come about through some kind of magical charm, certainly not through any form of ordinary Boy Scout logic. Max finds himself in a forest where the animals, even a tree, talk back to him, and he has no memory how he got there. He gains companions: a badger who boasts a lot but is ferocious in battle, a brown bear who is easily distracted by the prospect of food of any kind, and a foul-tempered old tomcat with one eye missing, raggle-taggle fur and scars decorating his body. Pursuing them are the Blue Cutters, equipped with magical swords that do terrible things to the creatures they are used on.

There are a few early passages in the book that struck this reviewer as just on the edge of being cute, perhaps imitative of Tolkien's The Hobbit.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Haslett on January 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
While the publisher's summary may make it sound like a children's book, I have discovered that its adventures are as exciting as they are thought-provoking. Every page fills the reader with questions. And every time a question is answered, more rise up to fill its place. While young readers will surely enjoy the adventure, older readers will enjoy its deeply probing questions of life, freedom and originality.
I bought this book after reading Bill's comic series Fables, and I'm glad I did. If anyone enjoys this book, then you will enjoy Fables (or vice versa). The first 5 issues have been collecting into a trade paperback called Fables: Legends in Exile, which can also be found on amazon. Coincidently, this first story arc is a murder mystery.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Georgia Mom VINE VOICE on August 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book has an interesting premise (spoiler alert). Max the Wolf is a boyscout who wakes up in a seemingly familar but unknown place, with only certain memories. He meets up with a few talking animals who become his friends. He and his pals are being hunted by people called Blue Cutters. These Blue Cutters carry big swords that have the ability to cut their victims into new creatures/people for no apparent reason. The new friends discover they must get to one of the Wizards lands to be safe from the cutters and so the we begin a story of adventure that kept my 9 year old son thoroughly engaged. In the end three of the 4 friends makes it safely to the Wizards land to discover the Wizard is just the writer of max the Wolf stories, who has died. The writers death meant that his characters come over to this new land and now can experience free will. I thought the whole premise was unique but also a bit stretched, however my son bought into it completely and loved it. It also inspired a desire in him to want to read the original books the characters came from (and they are from other writer's books).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian Clopper on June 20, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book in under 3 days. It's a marvelous fantasy with a bigger message on creativity. I encourage any who dreamed of putting pen to paper and writing a novel to pick up "Mysterly." You'll love the sheer joy that shines through as the writer crafts his tale. It's rare to see an author show such affection toward his gifted characters.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Unity Dienes on October 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was one of the most boring books I've read in a long time. I gave it a fighting chance, honest, especially after the enormous number of positive reviews it received. It's hard to pan a book so many have loved. But I've gotta be true to my personal response here, which is that this book did not speak to me at all.

For starters, the mystery driving the plot was simply not exciting enough to hold my interest. So Max doesn't know why he's in a strange forest with talking animals, and then people are out to get him...ok, a good start, but a hundred pages later we have basically learned nothing to advance the plot except that everything has to do with the "Blue Cutters." Now, I get it...clearly this is a book about writing, and the blue cutting refers to editors' blue pencils, and that somehow all of these characters are in a book and are in danger of being edited. But this gimmicky meta-narrative about the process of writing does not make a good story, much less a children's story.

Furthermore, the dialogue is abominable. Max talks nothing like a real child, and, though I hesitate to say that the animals do not talk like real animals, I can at least point out that this badger has a vocabulary beyond that of most 12 year olds and the cat's verbal missteps are not as funny as the author seems to think they are. Much of the banter that is supposed to be witty struck me as simply tedious.

I would never give this to a child to read. It's not inappropriate, but there are certainly more interesting choices out there.
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