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The Forest King: Woodlark's Shadow Hardcover – September 25, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—In the first book, the forest monster is legendary among the kids in Justin's New England town, and they play a game mocking the creature. Justin, however, feels sure that there is something truly evil in the woods. He's seen the moving shadows and the yellow eyes glaring out from the trees. He wonders about the odd path of iron rods-and he believes that he is destined to confront the fiend-and whatever is behind it. In Heir, Ryan, 14, just wants to fit in, but odd things keep happening. Ice cream completely melts in his hands, and unexpected fires ignite when he is near. When his parents reveal that he was found abandoned in the desert as a baby, he begins to understand that he is not from Earth. He dreams of his home world, long ago taken over by the evil Arachnovar. His best friend becomes possessed by a weird spiderlike creature, leading Ryan to discover that extraterrestrials are hunting him. To save the town from being taken over, Ryan must recover the ancient powers of the Fire Prince-or die trying. Although written in full-text style, both books show a graphic-novel influence-episodic, action-driven plots; highly visual descriptive imagery; and dramatic dialogue. The comic-book background is also evident in the heavily shadowed illustrations and dramatic cover art. These high-energy texts and engaging characters will attract reluctant readers as well as fantasy fans.—Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 and up
  • Series: Forest King (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 101 pages
  • Publisher: Actionopolis/Komikwerks; 1 edition (September 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974280356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974280356
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,358,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Mishkin writes comics and graphic novels and is best known as a co-creator of the fantasy series "Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld" and the tongue-in-cheek superhero "Blue Devil." Over a thirty-five year career he has written horror, humor, westerns, science fiction and funny animals, with work that includes Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Star Trek, Roger Rabbit and Dungeons & Dragons.

His latest book, "The Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation into the Kennedy Assassination," is his first nonfiction graphic novel.

Mishkin is a co-founder of the nonprofit Kids Read Comics festival, and has also written on medical issues for patients and families. He grew up in New York and lives in East Lansing, Michigan, where he and his wife, a physician, raised three children.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on December 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Justin Woodlark is quite sure of two things: the forest surrounding his new home in a small town in the middle of nowhere is nothing like the hustle and bustle of New York City, and that same forest is home to a creature unlike anything he's ever known before.

Sure, he was scared of the forest at first, especially when he got lost. But now he's spent lots of time under the shade of the trees, in daytime and at twilight, playing games with his friends like "Old Man of the Forest." Still, though, there's something about the forest that disturbs him, and it's somehow connected to the iron poles set into the ground throughout the woods; poles that are impossible to dislodge.

Then two things happen that prove to Justin that the woods hold an ancient evil. First, there's the old man Smith, who likes to ask questions about Justin and his time in the woods, but who refuses to answer questions. When he frightens Justin, leading the young teen to push the old man, tensions escalate. And when a game of "Old Man of the Forest" goes terribly wrong, ending up in lots of aches and pains, not to mention fears, Justin knows that there's something alive and sinister in the woods surrounding his home.

When he sets out to investigate with his two best friends, Alice and Rob, the three teens find more than they bargained for--a monstrous creature with gigantic fangs and skin that resembles leaves. Can they overcome this evil with the help of the mysterious iron poles embedded in the forest floor, or is this creature simply a sign of things to come?

THE FOREST KING is an easy, quick read, perfect for younger teens, pre-teens, or older reluctant readers. The constant action and fantasy elements will appeal to young readers, who will be happy to know that this is the first book in a series.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Blake Petit VINE VOICE on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Forest King is of the launch books of Actionopolis, a new imprint featuring books for young readers by some of the most talented writers and artists in the fields of comic books and animation. It's such a simple idea it's amazing no one has tried this before. Woodlark's Shadow isn't quite what I expected, but if the rest of the Actionopolis books are as high-quality as this one, it's a worthwhile experiment.

In Woodlark's Shadow, young Justin Woodlark moves to a small town his family has a history with. He and the local children get caught up in a creepy game in the woods that's part Hide and Seek, part Murder in the Dark. The game turns frightening, though, when some of the children are hurt, and Justin finds reason to believe it's much more than just a game.

There's an interesting contradiction in this book: it skews a bit younger than the age group I expected it to be aimed at (ages 8-to rather than the older "Young Adult" demographic), but at the same time, it's a much darker, more frightening book than I expected it to be. Mishkin's strong prose is aided by exquisite line artwork by the fantastic Tom Mandrake, best known for work on superhero books like The Spectre, which delved into the horror genre itself.

I was quite impressed by this little book. I find myself awaiting the sequel, and anxious to see what else Actionopolis has in store.
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