Wild Child by Jeanne Willis and Lorna Freytag

You know that feeling when you see a book and you get a thrill of excitement? When you have found something new and exciting and daring to be different. When you pick it up and read it and that thrill of excitement is transformed into butterflies as you realise that this book is truly something special. And then you finish the book. You probably stroke it a bit and hug it to your chest. And you feel different. You feel slightly changed. Altered by the experience of this book. You feel warm and invigorated and inspired. You want to share it with someone. Anyone. Everyone.


I want to share Wild Child with you. Look at that cover. It is beautifully different and new and enticing. How often do children get to see actual children on the cover of a picture book aimed at this age range? Baby books, yes. But picture books are far more likely to have an illustrated child or an animal character. This is exciting. This will catch a child’s eye and imagination. Look at the textures of the toadstools, the light in the clouds, the reds bringing the picture together and bringing the Wild Child into focus.

And then we open the book.

Footprints tracked across ripped paper and scarred ground. Animal and human side by side. Thrilling, dangerous, leading us on.


And we are in the story. We are wondering what it would be like to live in the wild. In a house like that. To run with wolves and sleep with bears and have the whole of the world at our feet.

Wild Child was short listed for The Little Rebel Children’s Book Award and I can absolutely see why. It celebrates the rebel, the non-conformist, the wild child. I love Jeanne Willis. One of my absolute favourite books is Bog Baby. I love the way she can slide in to the consciousness of a child and really understand them. This book shows her ability to see the Wild Child in all children and to celebrate the child. To celebrate play and adventure and exploration and the freedom of fun. What child will read this and not want to run outside and explore and roll around and run and hide and play? Or to imagine themselves living in a forest, to imagine themselves bigger and braver and wilder than they are. Hurrah for Jeanne Willis and her celebration of childhood. Hurrah for Lorna Freytag and her celebration of nature and the wild. Hurrah to Walker Books for publishing something that dares to be different and celebrates the radical. And hurrah to wild children everywhere.

You can buy this wonder of a book here from Letterbox Library.

Source: The RhinoReads bookshelves.


3 thoughts on “Wild Child by Jeanne Willis and Lorna Freytag

Add yours

  1. This book has been on my wish list for aaaaaaaages and after such a brilliant review I’m bumping it up to the top! I’m all for anything that encourages a bit of wildness 🙂

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