Book Review of Willa of Dark Hollow
The Children’s Book Review
Willa of Dark Hollow
Written by Robert Beatty
Ages 8-12 | 384 Pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion | ISBN-13: 978-1368007603
What to Expect: Family, Conservation, Nature, Belonging, Magic
Reminiscent of the classic film Ferngully, Willa of Dark Hollow is the gripping sequel to Willa of the Wood and a continuation of Beatty’s exploration of conservation and love for the natural world.
Since inciting the overthrow and execution of the Padaran and the destruction of her Faeran tribe’s lair, Willa has not been sure where she belongs. Her tribe is scattered and broken and has cast her out for the role she played in their downfall. Her mother, father, grandmother, and twin sister are dead. Her adopted human father and sister are kind and loving, but they don’t fully understand her Faeran ways and the connection she feels to the forest.
Willa is in agony, watching the world she loves die as human loggers murder the trees, drive out the animals, and turn the land to dust. Even worse, something dark is growing in their wake – a haunted, sinister forest of shadows and ghosts that bring more death with them. When the humans take her adopted father, Willa knows it’s up to her to stop them and fix the hurts that are being done to her world. The only problem is that she is powerless: the last surviving woodwitch with no way of stopping the humans and their slaughter. That is until she meets the girl with hair the color of wheat…
Although the themes of abandonment, child abuse, destruction of nature, abuse of indigenous peoples, and bereavement are challenging, Willa’s determination and courage as a character helps keep the story uplifting. Fantasy elements merge with loving descriptions of the real Great Smokey Mountain landscape and its history of colonization and development in the nineteenth century, creating a story that is believable and immersive.
Willa of the Wood is a thought-provoking, captivating, heart-wrenching read.
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About the Author
Robert Beatty is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Serafina series and the Willa of the Wood series published by Disney Hyperion. Loved by young readers and adults alike, the Serafina and Willa books are being taught in over a thousand classrooms nationwide, and have been translated into over 22 languages.
Robert lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and three daughters. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, Robert was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year.
When asked about the inspiration for his books, Robert said, “The Serafina and Willa books grew out of my desire to write stories about unusual and heroic young girls for my three daughters.”
Willa of Dark Hollow by Robert Beatty was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Willa of Dark Hollow by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with family, conservation, nature, and magic.
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I love the artwork on the cover of this book! I also love the story he is telling, although I haven’t read the book, the comparison to Ferngully paints a clear picture. That was one of my favorites growing up. Robert seems to be an inspirational figure. His daughters are lucky to have him!