Friday, 28 June 2013

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week ending 28th June 2013: "Wild" by Emily Hughes (Flying Eye Books)

We kept spotting glimpses of this book on the back of other Flying Eye titles, we kept hearing people whispering about how great it was on Twitter. Now it's in our grasp and we're definitely, positively not letting it go.

Emily Hughes "Wild" is beautiful, and the cover knocks your eyes out the minute you see it, but that's nothing compared to what's inside. The story of a feral child, lost in the forest but cared for by the animals - almost like she's supposed to be there, in fact.

Taught to talk by birds, taught to play by foxes, taught to fish by bears, the Wild Child leads an idyllic lifestyle until one day she's caught in a trap. A human trap. Soon people turn up to find out what they've caught and really don't expect to see a little girl wrapped up in the bear trap (caught by her beautiful green hair, owch!)

Perhaps well meaning but ultimately interfering, the hunters carry the child back to civilisation with them and she's adopted by a psychologist and his wife, who find life with a wild child is anything but easy. It's not her fault. To her, these 'animals' can't talk properly, they can't eat properly and most of all they really do not know how to have fun.

What happens next? You know what I'm going to say - I urge you, nay BEG you to discover this book for yourself because you really need to. It had an electrifying effect on Charlotte. I think she liked the fact that the wild girl looked a little bit like a pint sized version of Merida, from Brave - and lived a fairly carefree life before human intervention. What child could possibly resist a tale where a girl does exactly what she wants, has fantastic animal friends to play with, and can curl up snugly to snooze with furry creatures? Certainly not Charlotte, she loved this book to bits from the moment she laid eyes on it.

Comparisons are made in the press release to the works of Sendak and Scarry (which I thought was a trifle odd as this really is nothing like a Richard Scarry book and really only shares heritage with Maurice Sendak through the word 'Wild' in the title).

If the intent was to compare this to the classic children's books that have become hugely well known and well loved, cited as hugely influential, and universally revered then that's fine - and if the intent was also to announce Emily Hughes to the world as a colossal talent fit to rub shoulders (figuratively) with the likes of Sendak, Scarry, Carle, Seuss, Bloy Graham, Keats (as in Ezra Jack) or any other legendary children's book creator then that's also mighty fine too. But this lady stands on her own two feet and if this is her first published book, you can only imagine how great she's going to be by the time she reaches her 5th. A star to eclipse the rest, mark our words.

Find out more about Emily on the Flying Eye Books website

Charlotte's best bit: Wild girl's eating habits once introduced to civilisation. Grarrr!

Daddy's favourite bit: This book is quite short (so perfect to squeeze in before bedtime), but it has a huge impact. Shades of Tarzan and The Jungle Book infused with one of the best female characters I've seen in a children's book in a long time. Beautiful art, massively impressive presentation, don't just stand there wide-eyed, go and get it now!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Bounce / Flying Eye Books)