Born in London, England; children: two daughters. Education: Graduated from Kent University.
Office—Guardian, 119 Farringdon Rd., London EC1R 3ER, England. E-mail—[email protected]
Author and journalist. Independent, London, England, reporter; City Limits (publishing cooperative), London, founding member and editor of theatre section; Guardian, London, theater critic. Also worked as a tea lady and a waitress.
Into the Woods, illustrated by Mini Grey, David Fickling Books (New York, NY) 2006.
Lyn Gardner, the theater critic for the London Guardian, is the author of Into the Woods, "a fast-paced and entertaining adventure filled with cheeky humor and wordplay," noted a reviewer in Publishers Weekly. Discussing the audience for the book on her Web log, Gardner stated that Into the Woods "is very much for 8-12 year olds. But I do hope that it's also a book that children and parents might want to read aloud to each other because it began as a bedtime story on a visit to see my children's American cousins."
Into the Woods follows the adventures of three sisters—strong-willed Storm, responsible Aurora, and precocious Anything—who live at Eden End, their dilapidated family estate. After her mother's death, Storm inherits a musical pipe with magical powers that is coveted by Dr. DeWilde, an evil-doer posing as a rat exterminator. Fleeing from DeWilde and his pack of wolves, the girls enter the woods surrounding their village, where they discover a fudge-covered gingerbread
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house, a gemstone quarry worked by child slaves, and an ogress who turns out to be their long-lost great-grandmother.
Into the Woods garnered strong reviews. "Gardner's funky retelling of virtually every fairytale you can remember doesn't just borrow from Perrault and the Grimms but even, cheekily, inhabits Angela Carter's now-classic re-tellings," Kathryn Hughes remarked in the London Guardian. In Books for Keeps Adrian Jackson described the work as "part fairy tale …, part comedy caper and substantially high drama." Writing in Horn Book, Claire E. Gross also praised the story, commenting that Gardner's "vivid language is rich with imagery and metaphor that emerge naturally from the familiar pastoral setting but still achieve originality," and School Library Journal contributor Margaret A. Chang cited the author's "strong, descriptive style."
Although Gardner has learned, as she wrote on her Web log, that "being a first time children's author is no fairytale," she plans to continue writing for a young audience. After a slow start, the process of writing her first novel "became addictively good fun. The best days were when I found myself surprised by what I'd written. Four months later I wrote those glorious words ‘The End.’ I had for the first time actually finished a book. It was like moving into a brand-new house."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, May 1, 2007, Kay Weisman, review of Into the Woods, p. 91.
Books for Keeps, September, 2006, Adrian Jackson, review of Into the Woods.
Guardian (London, England), October 14, 2006, Kathryn Hughes, "There and Back Again," review of Into the Woods.
Horn Book, July-August, 2007, Claire E. Gross, review of Into the Woods, p. 395.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2007, review of Into the Woods.
Observer (London, England), October 22, 2006, Geraldine Bedell, "Welcome to the Post-apocalypse," review of Into the Woods.
Publishers Weekly, June 11, 2007, review of Into the Woods, p. 60.
School Library Journal, June, 2007, Margaret A. Chang, review of Into the Woods, p. 144.
Lyn Gardner Web log,http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/culture/ (August 15, 2008).