Portland, Oregon, is a special place with special people, among them Colin Meloy, lead singer of the indie folk rock band The Decemberists and quintessential Portlander. Not only is Meloy a talented musician, he has also penned a children’s trilogy, The Wildwood Chronicles, set in the Impassable Wilderness, a magical wood inspired by Portland’s Forest Park, an 8 mile tract of natural woods within the city limits overlooking the Willamette River.
The Wildwood Chronicles will immediately remind readers of classic children’s fantasy stories, such as Labyrinth or The Chronicles of Narnia, mixed with elements of Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” Prue McKeel, the story’s heroine, packs her 1-year-old brother Mac into a Radio Flyer hitched to the back of her bike and takes off for a day of errands. When she stops at the public library and leaves Mac in the wagon while she zips inside, a murder of crows appears and picks the baby up, carrying him away. Prue gives chase across the city, but is halted by the Willamette River. She is determined to save her brother and is unwillingly aided by Curtis, a nerdy classmate. Together the two brave the Wildwood, a secret world where animal governments are at war and Mac is the key to an evil plot to destroy everything in the wood.
Meloy’s wife, Carson Ellis, illustrated the Wildwood trilogy. Other children’s book illustrations to her credit are “The Mysterious Benedict Society” and “Lemony Snicket: The Composer is Dead.” Put on The Decemberists’ latest album, “The King is Dead,” and cook up a flavorful summer meal.
Luis’s Chunky Guacamole
3 avocados, roughly diced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with tortilla chips or use as a garnish for Mexican dishes. Source: www.oregonlive.com