cover image Oldenglen


Robin and Michael Mason. Tricklewood (, $12.99 paper (298p) ISBN 978-0-9948371-0-3

In this series opener, written by a father-son team, Jackson Wolfe envisions a dreary summer alone after he moves with his parents from England to a remote, dilapidated house in the Oregon woods. Instead, he discovers the kingdom of Oldenglen in a nearby forest, which is populated by a society of talking animals that include Squiffle, a well-mannered porcupine, and Pondlefoot, a grumpy badger. When developers threaten Oldenglen, Jackson and Sarah, the granddaughter of the landowner, join with the animals to defend the territory. Jackson’s acerbic sense of humor (“Let’s not tell Mom we’re living in a house surrounded by bloodthirsty carnivores. She should find that out for herself,” he says sarcastically, after his father suggests not informing his mother about the local coyotes and wolves) can make him seem older than his 12 years, though that edge softens as he determines to stand up for Oldenglen. A profusion of Britishisms (“Oh, strewth, it’s a tip!”) will require unfamiliar readers to do some Googling. Readers who cherish the outdoors should be drawn into the story’s blend of magic, irreverent humor, and message about wildlife conservation. Ages 8–12. (BookLife)