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Review: Wild by Annette Demetriou, Dawn White and Ryan Sonderegger

Two young wolves teach us that we don't have to follow the pack in this charming and important picture book.

'Wild’ is a delightful story packed with important messages promoting positive behaviour, individuality and the idea there is no single way to be a wolf!

Little Wolfie and Wilfie are relaxing after a busy morning of cherry picking when they are suddenly surrounded by a pack of bigger, aggressive wolves who tell them that they can’t be real wolves because they aren’t growly and scary and wild. Despite feeling scared, they tell them that they are wolves, but not like them: they help and respect other people.

Wolfie and Wilfie are sweet characters who remind us that we don’t have to follow the pack if we don’t like their behaviour. Just when it seems that these smaller, kinder wolves may be in danger, they jump to the defence of granny, who has been baking pies with the cherries that they picked and is frightened by the pack. They prove that they can be brave and stand up for others without being wild. The wolf gang learns that being a wolf isn’t just about being wild and mean.

This is an important picture book and one of the only ones I’ve come across to gently address the issues with gang mentality and toxic masculinity. The messages are good for all readers, particularly about being true to who you are and not following the pack just to fit in.

I think lots of younger children will be able to relate to the emotions felt by Wolfie and Wilfie when they encounter these bigger wolves and this provides a good stimulus for talking through any worries or experiences they have. I adore the illustrations by @ryansonderegger which are so expressive and fun. They manage to convey the sense of menace in some scenes without being frightening.

‘Wild’ by Annette Demetriou and Dawn White is out on the 28th of April from the brilliant @owletpress. I was sent this copy in exchange for my honest review and I absolutely loved it.

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