Unfortunately the mayor knows who to blame and comes right up to Cecilia's house. When she won't give him the dog, he takes a bulldozer to the home. Cecilia and the dog end up floating away in the up most room, which has somehow turned into a life pod. They float all the way into the dark forest of Northwood, and are stranded in a tree.
Northwood is a forest of nightmares, rumored to never release its victim's. Its trees are made of tar and black lions roam its depths. Cecilia and the little dog find a small group of lost inhabitants, forced to live under the rule of a greedy king. Everyone bows to do his bidding. Everyone but Cecilia, who brings a little spunk to the group and a determination to escape.
Okay, who can resist a book where the lead character has the last name Undergarment? That name alone is a clue to just how wacky and wild the book will be. Cecilia is truly the life of the story, a little girl determined to stand up for what's right and to not let people bully other people. I love how she stands up to the king and takes chances that no one else will. She is brave and true.
There is also an element of fantasy included within the story. Cecilia herself has the unique ability to speak to and understand animals. Something that comes in handy when black lions attack. The story of the abandoned castle in the Northwood's tells of a princess who had the same talent, and Cecilia soon gets some shocks.
The last thing I want to give a big thumbs up to are the illustrations by Donovan Bixley. Perfect for younger middle grade readers, the pictures nail it. They truly bring the story to life. Can you imagine a house that looks like a bunch of balloons? No, well, there's an illustration. This book is a great read- 4 stars!