I was all set to write about a proper adult nonfiction titles as my November Book Pick when a package arrived at my door that set aside my well laid plans for something completely different. There was just something about Wild by Emily Hughes that made it stand out in the sea of picture books that I see or read about. The 100 Scope Notes review called it “Sendak-ian,” and I couldn’t agree more. Maurice Sendak’s books might have been full of the fantastic, but there was a level of truth to them that not every book even tries to reach. Wild reaches right for a truth that might not seem terribly kid-friendly–that some things cannot be tamed–and makes a story that will almost certainly get kids thinking.
There might be something in the timing of my discovery of this picture book. You see, it arrived (courtesy of the publisher; see the disclaimer below) just after I’d finished reading an advance copy of Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter Sieruta. I’m sure I’ll be blogging about this one again closer to it’s 2014 publication date, but for now I’ll say that it is a kidlit geek’s must-read. For all those readers who think that books for young people are full of sunshine and lollipops, Wild Things will clue you in to all the subversive books in kidlit history and the stories behind them. It will whet your appetite for something that seems to break the rules the next time you’re browsing in the children’s section. I think that’s a good thing.
Wild breaks some rules. Grown-ups might not completely appreciate it at first, but I hope you’ll give it a chance.
Disclaimer: Wild was reviewed from a copy courtesy of the publisher. Wild Things was reviewed from an ARC via my employer.
Miss last month’s Book Pick? Check out Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.