Review Blog

Sep 10 2010

Wild Stories by Colin Thompson

cover image

Random House, 2010. ISBN: 9781864718263.
Highly recommended for ages 8 and up. In this delightful collection of short stories, set in the garden of a house called fourteen, Colin Thompson gives a wonderfully descriptive, humorous and touching insight into the true meaning of the term 'biodiversity' as it relates to a suburban back yard. From mosquitoes, slugs, cockroaches, spiders, millipedes, maggots and caterpillars to dogs, cats, rabbits, hedgehogs, rats, bats, chickens and budgerigars each snippet reflects on life from the perspective of that particular creature. With this one particular garden as the focus, the author gives each of the different creatures which live there a chapter of the story as he describes their life and purpose. Although several come to unfortunate ends as a result, some of the animals and mini-beasts decide to rebel against expectations of their families, others follow the paths set by their parents and forebears.
Having previously only read and been entranced by Thompson's picture books, this collection proved that whatever he writes is worthy of reading. Over the space of a page, in the case of a poem, to stories told within anything from three to ten pages Colin Thompson can make the reader consider the human condition and the impact we have on the environment. In reading the different sections about Ethel Doris the Chicken, we are lead to consider the meaning of life! Being released during the Year of Biodiversity, any of these tales could be used by teachers with their classes to consider habitats and how different species can co-exist within one small area.
Definitely a highly recommended title.
Jo Schenkel

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