wild

Wild by Emily Hughes

When the baby girl was found in the woods by the animals, the entire woods took her in.  Bird taught her to talk.  Bear taught her to fish.  Fox taught her how to play.  Everything was good, until she met some people in the woods.  They took her home with them.  A famous psychiatrist took her in and tried to make her civilized.  They combed her hair, tried to teach her to speak, frowned at her table manners and didn’t appreciate the way she played.  Everything they did was wrong.  The girl was not happy at all.  But then one day, she found her wild once more. 

Told only in brief sentences, Hughes lets her art tell much of the story here.  And what a glorious story it is.  It’s the story of a child perfectly at home in the wild and with the animals.  She doesn’t long for society or civilization in any way.  She’s the opposite of many classic book characters like Curious George.  She rejects the rules and substitutes her own.

The art has a wonderful wild quality as well.  It is lush and filled with details.  The woods have a flowing green that is mesmerizing.  Once the humans enter the story, things become more angular and rigid.  The return to the woods is beautiful and completely satisfying. 

Hughes has tapped into what every child dreams of, living in the woods with the animals and thriving.  Everyone who reads this will want to be wild themselves.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.