Home of the Wild by Louise Greig, illustrated by Júlia Moscardó. Floris Books, 2021. 9781782507130
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? A young boy who loves the natural world finds a fawn abandoned on a Scottish moor. He brings her home and names her Alba, feeding her from a bottle and watching her grow into a beautiful and playful companion. His mother looks on, supporting him, but reminding him that wild things need to be free. The fawn returns to the forest but the day turns dark and stormy and the boy panics, calling to Alba. She quickly returns and he realizes that she is strong enough now to be on her own. Greig’s text reads like free verse poetry, with a discernible beat, despite the lack of a rhyme scheme. Moscardó’s beautiful watercolor illustrations are perfectly matched to the text and manage to convey both a cozy sense of warmth and friendship but also the majesty and wildness of the woods. She effectively uses black outlines around the unnamed protagonist and Alba so that our eye is always drawn to them, even when they are small in a large, wooded setting. This is a simple, sentimental, old-fashioned story and will be wish fulfilment for anyone who’s ever seen a fawn in the woods. The boy and his mother are White with bright orange hair.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Children should be reminded not to pick up or bring home young animals they find outside; possibly the book could have included an afterwards with this information.
To whom would you recommend this book? Nature lovers ages 5-9 will recognize and appreciate the boy’s cozy bedroom, with its rock collection, field guides, binoculars and mobiles made of seashells. This could also be a useful read aloud for children who are in the situation of having to let go of something they love.
Who should buy this book? Public libraries
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: September 2, 2021
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