The Decemberists' Colin Meloy to pen children's books

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The Independent Culture

Colin Meloy, founding member of folk rock band The Decemberists, is set to pen a three-book series for children 9-12, announced HarperCollins Publishers on April 29. Wildwood is called "a classic tale of adventure, magic, and danger, set in an alternate version of modern-day Portland, Oregon."

Meloy is the lead singer and songwriter of The Decemberists, a Portland act noted for its literary, storytelling approach and lyrics that often cover historical events and themes (heard in songs such as "The Mariner's Revenge Song," which is set in the belly of a whale, or "The Tain," the band's take on an Irish myth).

Wildwood will be illustrated by Meloy's wife Carson Ellis, who has designed several album covers for the The Decemberists, created artwork for Weezer, and illustrated children's books including Lemony Snicket's The Composer is Dead. The first book is scheduled for publication in North America in fall 2011.

Donna Bray of HarperCollins imprint Balzer & Bray called Wildwood "nothing less than an American Narnia."

Meloy said: "I grew up on a steady diet of Lloyd Alexander, Roald Dahl, and Tolkien; this is our humble paean to that grand tradition of epic adventure stories."

Colin Meloy formed The Decemberists in 2000. The group's most recent album, 2009's The Hazards of Love, debuted at #1 in the iTunes Store at #14 on the US Billboard 200 chart. The band has sold more than one million albums worldwide.

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