Willow the Wildcat – Lynne Rickards, illustrated by Kirsteen Harris-Jones

  Willow the Wildcat – Lynne Rickards, illustrated by Kirsteen Harris-Jones, Kelpies, an imprint of Floris Books, 9781782506300, 2020

Format: Paperback

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre: Picture book

 What did you like about the book? This story sheds some light on the endangered wildcats that are living in the Scottish Highlands. These cats previously inhabited all of the UK but hunting, forestry and development issues have sent these cats to the Scottish Highlands to seek refuge. This story begins with two wildcat siblings, Willow and Corrie, involved in one of their many arguments. The hunting expedition the night before was unsuccessful and they are each blaming the other. Their mother calls them into their shelter for a little rest before trying again to find some food. No sooner are they settled when a large sheepdog comes snooping around and completely destroys their home. Now Willow, Corrie and their mother must go off in search of a new home. Between lack of food, a mean pine marten, a hungry kite, the search of finding a proper home, both Willow and Corrie learn to work together to survive and find food and shelter. In the end, they all find a wonderful home and fall into an exhausted night’s sleep.

The illustrations provided by Kirsteen Harris-Jones reflect the beautiful Scottish countryside with the lush pine forests, cool blue streams, and glowing sunset on a long-forgotten castle. She also provides detailed drawings of other animals native to Scotland such as the pine marten, kite, and hedgehog.

 Anything you did not like about the book. The fact that it is a paperback book makes this a little more challenging for public and school libraries.

To whom would you recommend this book? This book would be perfect for children between the ages of three and six. Younger children will simply enjoy the story, but older children could use this story as part of a unit about Scotland. There is some information about Scottish wildcats in the beginning of the book that might encourage children to explore Scotland a little more. 

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, daycares, anyone who works with children between the ages of three and six.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? I think it is a good book, but I would recommend getting some of the other Scottish animals books by Floris (Rowan the Red Squirrel, Finn the Seal, and Skye the Puffling) to make more of a set about animals of Scotland.

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: February 11, 2020


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