Review Blog

Nov 19 2014

The Wild One by Sonya Hartnett

cover image

Ill. by Lucia Masciullo. Penguin/Viking, 2014. ISBN 9780670076970
(Age: F-12) Charlie met the wild one when he was young. His kite got stuck in the branches of the tree and there, sitting on the bough beside it is a barefoot, slightly dishevelled little boy - looking remarkably like Charlie himself. All day they did things that little boys liked to do running, jumping, splashing, playing in the water, rolling in the mud, hanging from trees and scattering the leaves of autumn. At the end of the day, it was time for Charlie to collect his kite and he was surprised to find that his new friend didn't have to go home. 'Here is where I live,' he said.
Whenever he could, Charlie visited the wild one and played and explored the wonders of nature. They caught tadpoles and saw the tiny legs; they watched caterpillars spin cocoons and spiders weaving webs; and they hooted to the mopoke who stared at them through feather goggles. But such an idyllic life cannot last and Charlie had to go to school to learn mathematics and history and science. Every now and then Charlie visited the wild one and he had not been forgotten but as life intervened the visits became fewer and fewer, until one, day, with his own son in his arms, he cannot find him at all. Is he lost forever?
This is a most gentle story of a boy who finds another side to himself, but loses it as life intervenes but as the sun rises and falls and the moon circles the earth, he discovers it again in time to share it. Beautifully illustrated by Lucia Masciullo - this is the third partnership between the pair - it celebrates the joys of childhood and shows that the magic never quite leaves us, even if we cover it with layers of adult life. The passage of time and the cycle of life are inexorable but deep down we never lose the wonder of our earliest days, and the need to replicate it for our children and our grandchildren.
Like all excellent picture books, this appeals to so many ages. It's perfect for helping the very young understand that time passes and things change, yet at the other end of the scale it would also be a perfect addition to a more abstract, conceptual theme of belonging or journeys or discovery. The more you read it, the more you discover.
Barbara Braxton

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
Text Prize 2017
NSW Premier Literary Awards shortlist 2017
Aurealis Awards winners
YABBA Awards shortlist 2017
Stella Prize 2017
2017 YALSA Teens' Top Ten Nominees
CBCA shortlists 2017
YA Book Prize 2017 shortlist
CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 shortlist
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 shortlist
School Library Association Information Book Award 2017
2017 UKLA Book Awards shortlists
National Simultaneous Storytime 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates