Skip to main content
Beyond the Deepwoods

Reading Discussion Guides

Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

About the Book

Young Twig is different. Raised by a woodtroll family since infancy, he’s never fit in at home, in his village, or at school. As he approaches his 14th birthday, he learns the circumstances of his beginnings: how he was abandoned by his natural parents and taken in and raised as a woodtroll. His loving mother, Spelda, sends Twig out into the Deepwoods to begin his adult life. Against Spelda’s instructions, Twig strays from the path and becomes lost in the Deepwoods, utterly alone and vulnerable. Despite the odds, Twig not only learns to survive on his own, but begins to understand where his true destiny lies.

Guide prepared by Colleen Carroll

Discussion Questions

  • After Twig leaves the woodtroll village and sets out into the Deepwoods, he strays from the path, an action that his mother, Spelda explicitly forbade him to do. Lured by the beauty of the woods, Twig suddenly realizes he is lost and in danger. Do you think Twig should have stayed on the path? If he had, do you think he still might have been able to fulfill his destiny? Why is it important in life to sometimes “stray from the path”?
  • Twig survives one close call after another as he journeys through the Deepwoods: the halitoad, the rotsucker, the swamp, the wig-wigs, the bloodoak, etc. Discuss some of these encounters and why Twig was able to survive. What character traits does he possess that allow him to elude death time after time?
  • Why, in Twig’s darkest moment, falling into the void of the Edge, does he finally realize his own self-worth?

Extension Activities

  • Work with the school art teacher to make a mural of the Deepwoods, including environments, trees, plants, creatures, and landmarks described in Beyond the Deepwoods.
Beyond the Deepwoods

Beyond the Deepwoods

Paul Stewart, Chris Riddell
Age Level:
Middle Grade
Fantasy, Fiction