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The Wild Way Home

The Wild Way Home

Sophie Kirtley
Bloomsbury Childrens Books
ISBN: 9781526616289

Charlie has long dreamed of having a sibling and is delighted when he's woken on his 12th birthday to be told he has a baby brother. But his happiness doesn't last when he discovers Dara is very poorly. He's not the pink, beautiful baby brother he was expecting. As fear takes over, Charlie runs and ends up far, far, far away with no idea how to get home.

An emotional adventure about courage, inner strength, hope and facing the harder parts of life together.

Charlie travels back in time from the Mandel Forest, where he lives today, to a Mandel Forest of the past. This Mandel Forest is evocative of childhood days of summers past: the games, adventures and laughter shared with friends and the myriad of places to hide with your tears and fears. And there's a map! The timeslip felt effortless as we passed back to the Stone Age to meet Arby, an older brother desperate to make safe Mothga, who we learn is his little sister. The boys' tentative steps towards helping each other was the perfect pitch of fear, tension and trust seen in fledgling friendships born out of necessity.

The plot moves at pace, while never ignoring the emotions driving Charlie and Arby, with just the right amount of scares for younger readers looking for a longer novel to get stuck into.

I laughed...I cried. I loved it. A stunning debut. This is a perfect class read for Lower Key Stage 2 and above, and great for fans of: Boot: Small Robot, Big Adventure by Shane Hegarty; The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell; and The 1000 Year Old Boy by Ross Welford.

256 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Nicki Cleveland, school librarian


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