In the Forest by Art Collins
The Adventures of Archibald and Jockabeb
Publisher: A&J Publishing
Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full Length (150 pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
When two young brothers, Archibald and Jockabeb, find and old leather map hidden in the forest just beyond their backyard, they can’t help but sneak out one night to follow its path. So begins the first of the boys’ amazing adventures. After a terrifying encounter with supernatural creatures, the boys meet a young Indian brave, Haktu, who shares with them the tragic story of how he was separated from his tribe and placed under an evil spell. The saga leads the two boys into Haktu’s secret world behind the forest mist, the power of the blue feather, and teaches them the importance of friendship and loyalty in the face of untold evil.
The forest is full of secrets. The farther you wander into it, the more of them you’ll discover.
Every time Jockabeb and Archibald went into the woods I wondered what they’d find. From running away from danger in the middle of the night to eating picnics during the day, every visit was completely different from the last one. This made it interesting to see how these boys behaved because I was never sure what would happen to them next.
Speaking of these characters, both Archibald and Jockabeb were very likeable. Their personalities couldn’t have been more different, but I enjoyed getting to know both of them because of how well they got along with each other and how much fun they had exploring the woods. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what kinds of mischief they get into in the sequel.
I’d strongly recommend skipping the introduction because it included many spoilers about what happened to the main characters after they decided to explore the forest near their home. I wish I hadn’t known about so many of the plot twists ahead of time. It’s more entertaining for me to be surprised by what happens to characters. If not for this, I would have given this story a perfect rating as I really loved everything else about it.
The magical creatures were fascinating. I liked seeing how much the author spent describing what they looked like and what kinds of powers they had. It made it easy to imagine what it would be like to meet one of them in person, although I have to admit that I’d be a little scared to run into some of the dangerous ones!
In the Forest was an exciting and unforgettable book. Anyone who loves a thrilling adventure should give it a try.