Wild by Emily Hughes

It is the BIG, shiny eyes on the cover that grab me first, then the glorious tangle of hair around the wild girl’s face. The only other shiny things on the cover is the text but next to the eyes they are not immediately noticeable, only when one’s eyes start looking at the book as a whole do they become apparent.

“You cannot tame something so happily wild…”

In this beautiful picture book by Hawaiian artist Emily Hughes we meet a little girl who has known nothing but nature from birth – she was taught to talk by birds, to eat by bears and to play by foxes – she is unashamedly, irrefutably, irrepressibly wild. That is, until she is snared by some very strange animals that look oddly like her, but they don’t talk right, eat right, or play correctly. She’s puzzled by their behaviour and their insistence to live in these strange concrete structures known as ‘apartments’. There’s no green here, no animals, no trees, no rivers.

Now she lives in the comfort of civilisation. But will civilisation get comfortable with her?

The text is sparse and the artwork gorgeous, Wild is a book that can be read and shared time and time again. There is so much to look at and find on all the pages from crabs in the river to skulls underground and more!

I love the story, it is so simply told with the most beautiful illustrations! The faces and body language of both humans and animals are so expressive in their joy, anger, confusion and sadness that they render text almost unnecessary.

I will finish with one last observation on the eyes (I am not ocularly obsessed) I noticed that the girl’s eyes mirror those of the animals in the story with large black pupils and no irises unlike the other humans in the story – it was this small bit of attention to detail that made me love the story even more!

Disclaimer: I won the copy of Wild that I have from Flying Eye Books along with a print of one of the pages.

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