Review Blog

Nov 24 2009

Running wild by Michael Morpurgo

cover image

HarperCollins, 2009. ISBN: 9780007317202.
(Ages 10+) When Will's life is changed forever by his father's disappearance, he and his mother go to Indonesia for a holiday, a chance to start their lives anew. Will has the opportunity to ride on the back of Oona, the elephant but, whilst doing so, Oona becomes unsettled and suddenly thunders off up the beach toward the jungle as the tsunami makes its presence known. Seeking safety, she doesn't stop but keeps running. As a result, Will needs to learn to survive in the jungle and make sense of his new situation as he seeks to find food, shelter and battle the perils of life in the wild.
Morpurgo is a prolific and accomplished author. His stories are engaging, well crafted and keep the reader totally engrossed and wishing to direct the course of the story as it unfolds. In Running Wild, the style, language and descriptions used had me initially questioning the voice of the story teller until I reached the end and had my concerns satisfactorily addressed.
This story skilfully weaves in the effects of war, the tsunami, deforestation and the plight of the many jungle creatures along with the greed of humankind. Running Wild could effectively be used as an upper primary class novel to examine the many different issues raised. Morpurgo never seems to be excessively didactic, merely a brilliant story teller. In each of his books, he allows his child protagonist to shine and somehow make a difference in the world.
Jo Schinkel

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