Rowan of the Wood
Christine Rose and Ethan Rose
Dalton Publishing (2008)
Reviewed by Ben Weldon (age 10) for Reader Views (9/08)
“Rowan of the Wood” by Christine and Ethan Rose is the story of 12-year-old Cullen who has a dreadful life with a horribly mean foster family. One day when he was in the woods he “heard” two strange words and said them out-loud. A strange stick floated off the ground, there was a flash of light and Cullen felt as if he were being rooted to the ground. Later that day he found an odd tree-shaped birthmark on his chest, Cullen was positive that he had never had a birthmark. He felt that his life was going to change, but for better or for worse? What was going on?
Cullen’s foster family, the Samuels, were very nasty people who made Cullen do all the chores at their house. Cullen only found refuge from the Samuels when reading his books or hiding in the forest. If he was lucky on his birthday, after he did all the chores, he could have a bit of free time in the redwoods. One day Mr. Samuels told Cullen to burn some leaves in the back yard, so Cullen went to work. When the leaves were burning nicely Cullen started reading a book. When Mr. Samuels came outside and found Cullen reading, he was infuriated and told Cullen to throw all the books that he had onto the bonfire. Cullen miserably did as he was told. When he was done, he remembered that he had one book that he had forgotten to put on the fire, he quickly ran to the forest to hide it.
When Cullen was in the woods burying his book, he had a strange experience and in a flash of light the great wizard Rowan was released from his wand. After spending so much time in his wand, Rowan had no body of his own, so he possessed Cullen and became part of him only to be drawn out when Cullen was frightened. When his foster brother Rex and a couple other bullies were terrorizing his best friend April (who was blind), Cullen was very frightened and Rowan became his outer self. April was freed from Rex and his buddies.
While Rowan inhabited Cullen’s body, he was searching for his wife Fiana from whom he was separated about a thousand-years ago. As legend had it, Fiana had used dark magic to stay alive while searching for Rowan. Unfortunately, she had turned so far to the dark side that if she found the wand that held Rowan she would now be unable to release him. Will Rowan ever find her? Or will she have become so consumed by darkness that she will attempt to destroy him?
I would recommend “Rowan of the Wood” by Christine and Ethan Rose to people who like fantasy and adventure. There was only one bad word in the book; otherwise there was not much that parents would object to. This was a good book and I hope that everyone who reads it likes it as much as I did.