Zoë's Book Blog

Name: Shadow Forestshadow-forest
Author: Matt Haig
Illustrator: Sandy Nightingale
Published by: Corgi

Why I picked this book to read:

I was given this book to read as part of the judging process for the Blue Peter Book of the year awards 2009! Immediately when I saw it I convinced myself to read it first, because it was the biggest book and because just the blurb and front cover made me tingle inside. Whenever I tingle I know it will be a good book!

How did I feel when I read the book:

Tingly! It is extremely well written, which makes you want to read on. The magical but scary characters in it fascinated me as well as scare me to the bone. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t put it down without having a weird guilty feeling. Some scenes are so well written you can imagine them in a film, in your head.

The main Characters:

Samuel Blink–A young boy of 12, who is the hero of the book.
Martha Blink –Samuel’s younger sister who thinks she’s musical. She’s not!
Aunt Eda – Samuel and Martha’s aunt who lives in Norway next to a very scary forest!
Uncle Henrik – Aunt Eda’s husband!
Ibsen – A Norwegian elkhound, owned by Aunt Eda…and is an extremely close relative of Uncle Henrik!?

My favourite Character/why/description:

Ibsen, Loves brown cheese, sleeping and humans! (Nice ones of course!) He hates the forest but helps Samuel and Martha when their ‘adventures’ go wrong. He is also my favourite because he has a huge secret…

Briefly, What the story is about:

Samuel and Martha are forced to live in Norway with their Aunt Eda who lives next to a magical but scary forest that she calls, Shadow Forest! They are forbidden to go into it for a reason they both do not know. But one day Martha, somehow, is called into the forest not knowing that in the forest lives one-eyed trolls, the sinister huldre folk, truth pixies and a witch who steals shadows. A forest ruled by the evil Changemaker.

“A forest so dangerous that people who enter, never return…”

Samuel has to save her! But how can a dog, a weird book and a javelin stick help him?

A section of the first Chapter:

(Scene setter – Samuel and Martha, with their parents, are on a motorway travelling on a surprise trip for Martha’s birthday. Above them, a timber lorry is travelling in a different direction but the rope, holding the logs together, has snapped! Samuel sees the danger and tries to help!)

“Dad! Stop the car!”
“What on earth’s the matter?”
“Stop the car! The logs! Falling off the lorry stop the car!”
“Samuel, what are you talking about?” His dad was showing no sign of stopping the car.
The first log broke through the roadside barrier, one hundred metres before the bridge and started rolling down a slope towards the field at the side of the B642.
“Stop the car! Stop the car!”
“Samuel?” His mum always added a question mark to his name when she was cross.
“Stop! Stop! Just stop!”
But the car kept going, the logs kept rolling and his sister kept singing,
“Happy Birthday to me…”
“Why can’t you just stop the car?”
“Happy birthday to me…”
“Can’t you see?”
“Look – those logs, rolling down the hill!”
“Happy birthday to Martha…”
“Log? What logs?”
“Honestly Samuel, I think you’ve got an overactive…”
“Happy birthday to…”

That was the moment. That was when Samuel’s dad finally decided to brake. That was also the moment when the last of the ten logs, which formed a pyramid, rolled off the lorry and crashed through the barrier.
Only this time it didn’t roll down a slope into a field. It fell over the bridge and straight onto the only car that was travelling on the particular stretch of the B642.


It landed on the front portion of the roof. A heavyweight Scottish pine that had travelled three hundred miles south on it’s way to a paper mill in Lincolnshire.

Within less than a second of hitting the thin metal, Samuel and Martha lost both their parent, while themselves, along with the entire back half of the car remained, physically, unharmed.
Samuel held onto his sister’s hand as they stayed sitting on the back seat. They were too shocked to move. Or to speak. Or to make any sound at all. Their eyes had seen more nightmares in the space of a second than in the course of their combined lifetimes.

Neither of them knew where their parents had planned to take them for Martha’s birthday. All they did know was that, whatever else happened, nothing would ever be the same again.


Characters: Well thought through 9/10
Set out: Good idea’s 9/10
Illustrations: Amazing pictures 10/10
Story line: Extremely well written 10/10
Feel for book: Scary but thrilling 9/10
Can’tputdownability: Never could really, 10/10
Imagination-ability: Like a miniature film in my head 9/10

Over All: 10/10 Best book I’ve ever read!