A way with wild things by Larissa Theule and Sara Palacios

cover image

With the front cover depicting butterflies, ladybirds, bees and dragonflies, the wild things of the title refers clearly to those living things found in one’s garden. Poppy just loves bugs and insects and this is her story about what she can see, encouraging readers to stop and take a look themselves. She often sits amongst the wildflowers in her garden, talking to the many insects and bugs around her, quietly camouflaged by the colours of the flowers. She does not feel comfortable indoors with people and when she is inside becomes like the wallpaper, blending into the background of the event. So she becomes a tree, a curtain, a wall, blending her clothing with what is behind her, being as inconspicuous as she can, camouflaging herself to avoid contact with other people.

But one day at her grandmother’s birthday party a dragonfly lands on her cake. Poppy claps her hands with excitement giving away her position. The dragonfly, startled by the noise lands on Poppy’s hand and all are amazed, telling each other that Poppy has a way with wild things and closing in for a look at the insect. Poppy tells them what it is called, and they listen, no longer the recluse, but a real wild thing.

The images presented will draw the reader’s attention to the many bugs and insects that live in their garden. They will be encouraged to look more closely at what is around them, comparing the camouflage of the insects with that used by Poppy to avoid being seen. The bright colours will intrigue and delight younger readers and the issue of shyness will appeal to many who would prefer not to be noticed.

Themes: Insects, Bugs, Gardens, Shyness, Camouflage, Confidence.

Fran Knight