Greenwild: The World Behind the Door
We live in worrying times; climate meltdown, war, humanitarian crises all vie for our jaded attention. Do we want stories of the catastrophic impact of big business and the greed of consumerism following our beleaguered youngsters even as they read to escape into fantasy fiction? In short, yes, with Pari Thomson at the helm.
The first book of the Greenwild series is a convincing hybrid of environmentalism, magic, mystery, adventure, drama and the supernatural. Paganelli’s wonderful illustrations add to the feeling that this is a special book which is, to quote, like ‘fizzy lemonade for the soul’. The details of this fast-paced read are entrancing - I want a larder tree and to travel to Moonmarket by moontide! And the bad guys - the Grim Reapers ‘always pushing for more destruction’ are the stuff of nightmares, scary because they aren’t works of fiction per se, being all too real in our modern world.
Thomson deals delicately with big issues – destruction of the natural world, inclusiveness, diversity, grief, marital breakdown, same sex partnerships and the pressures of an imperfect education system without detracting from the enjoyment of the reader. While acknowledging but not dwelling on the dark side, the narrative is peppered with positivity, encouraging the reader to ‘pay attention to the world around you. Nature is wilder and stranger than you know, more miraculous than you can imagine’.
Thomson says ‘planting a seed is an act of hope’. So too is creating books like this.