Wednesday, July 3, 2013
The Wild Girl by Chris Wormell (Red Fox Picture Books)
Oh my, what a brilliant little book this is. Feral children seem to be a bit of a 'thing' on the blog recently. We reviewed the utterly beautiful "Wild" by Emily Hughes last week, and now it's time to take a look at a distinctly different wayward waif in Chris Wormell's utterly brilliant "The Wild Girl".
Growing up, I think I almost read the print off my copy of "Stig of the Dump" by Clive King and Edward Ardizzone and "The Wild Girl" reminded me of all the things I loved about that book.
A tiny little girl and her utterly brilliant little dog eke out a living in the middle of nowhere. They run, they jump, they fish and feast. But as winter closes in, even the wildest wild girl, used to sleeping under the stars, must find shelter.
The Wild Girl and her doggy companion build a nest from twigs and comfortable foliage in the back of an old cave. It's warm and snuggly (though the pair are often plagued by itchy scratchy fleas, eek!) and the perfect place to spend the winter.
One day though, the girl and her dog return to the cave to find the nest completely trashed, sticks scattered all around. Who would do such a thing? Or rather, what would...
It's tricky to know how much to tell you about this book because we really don't want to spoil it for you. Charlotte delighted in the girl's lifestyle. Imagine the lure for a child of having a life where you could do what you wanted, when you wanted to, go to bed when you wanted, always have your snuggly pet to cuddle up to at night without anyone telling you off. Being able to gaze up at the stars, or swim in the river. Utterly intoxicating stuff to Charlotte and so brilliantly told and illustrated in muted tones and pallettes (Chris's dog drawings are so utterly spot on).
The tale reaches a turning point about mid way through and it's that bit we don't want to spoil for you, suffice to say that the moral of the story and the twist is so nicely executed.
If your little girl or boy like making dens, curling up in tents, imagining life out in the deep dark woods or the wilderness, then they'll be drawn to this like moths to a flame. Beautiful stuff Chris.
Charlotte's best bit: The final lines and illustration in the book which are so cute!
Daddy's favourite bit: Take a walk on the wild side with a brilliant little girl hero and her dog. Sublime stuff!