Title: Wilderness Wars
Author: Barbara Henderson
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Pokey Hat/Cranachan Books
Publication date: Out now
When her father’s construction work takes Em’s family to the uninhabited island of Skelsay, she is excited, but also a little uneasy. Soon Em, and her friend Zac, realise that setbacks, mishaps and accidents on the island point to something altogether more sinister: the wilderness all around them has declared war.
Danger lurks everywhere. But can Em and Zac persuade the adults to believe it before it’s too late?
— Taken from Wilderness Wars
This review does not contain any spoilers.
Wilderness Wars is the gorgeous new book from middle-grade author Barbara Henderson. Set on the remote (fictional) Scottish island of Skelsay, we accompany Em on her move to the island where everything is not as it seems. From the start everything goes wrong and Em knows that she needs the adults to see that some places are intended to be wild and not inhabited by humans.
I took this book on my train journey to Edinburgh recently and I was a bit disappointed when I reached my stop and had to stop reading! This book is wonderfully addictive with a fast pace. It encompasses family life (including irritating little brothers and a rogue hamster), friends (new AND a boy – boys are to be suspected), and the mysterious world of wildlife (unpredictable, potentially dangerous if tampered with).
I particularly enjoyed Em as a character. She is 12-years-old and I felt that for me, looking back, she is highly relatable. She has the curiosity and instinct of a child but she’s also still learning about the world around her, particularly about the strange world of adults. The adults don’t always take the time to listen, and, even worse, sometimes they kiss! (Ew.)
I have no teaching experience but I would love for this book to be part of the curriculum. It is an exceptional story but it also delivers important messages about conservation and how we have to look after the world around us. This goes for both adults and children. Specifically for us adults, maybe we should listen to children just a little more carefully, and learn to listen to our own intuition closely. It’s not always about rationality and logic.
Many thanks to Cranachan Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Wilderness Wars is available to order now.
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