Home of the Wild Release
29th April 2021 sees the release of Home of the Wild from Floris Books. Floris kindly sent me this copy for review. I can’t wait to tell you a little bit more about this most special book and what activities my daughter and I are enjoying to go alongside the story. We’re a heavily book inspired family and love nothing better than cosying up together with a wonderful book, enjoying book related activities or acting out the story with props.
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I’m totally in awe of some of the recent releases from Floris Books. We’d fallen in love with last year’s release Spin a Scarf of Sunshine and this years Sam and the Gnome’s Hat. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better out of the Scottish mountains and glens comes Home of the Wild. A magical tale of home, friendship, love, the call of the wild and letting go, which is sure to leave not only your little ones, but you feeling all warm and fuzzy.
Home of the Wild
A little boy, who loves nothing more than exploring and understanding the natural wonders of the world around him discovers a little abandoned fawn all alone. He takes him home to nurse him strong. His mother gently explaining that one day the fawn will be ready to return to the wild. He nurtures the small fawn, whom he calls Alba. The fawn does grow strong and a mournful boy releases him back into the wild. A storm rages and the boy worries for the fawn, yet as the wrathful tempest continues the boy’s situation becomes more perilous. Soon he’ll see just how strong his wild friend has become with his help.
Words and Images in Harmony
The lyrical words of Louise Greig dance off your tongue in gentle rippling whispers as you tell the tale of the small boy and delicate fawn. Júlia Moscardó’s illustrations so perfectly bring the story even more vividly to life and marry with the rhythm of the story in complete harmony.
I still can’t believe that this is Júlia’s debut picture book as her images have such timeless, ethereal wonder depicting this magical place on Earth. The affection between boy and fawn exudes out of each image leaving your heart full. The images were created using a composite of Indian ink, gouache and digital media. Júlia ran a story and craft session on a Facebook live last month that you can find here based on the story Home of the Wild.
The language Louise uses is so rich and gives wonderful opportunities to discuss the vocabulary used and why.
‘but a trembling creature in the breaking dawn’
- What is the creature?
- Why are they trembling?
- What time of day is it – how do you know?
‘and her dark eyes glitter like the dancing streams’
- What do you think the author means by the phrase ‘dancing streams’?
- How wold you describe the fawn’s dark eyes?
‘the boy sits silent, alone as the moon.’
- What simile would you use instead of ‘alone as the moon’?
Throughout the book there are several repeated refrains that bring a warm, comfort. Words of solace and wisdom from the boys mother and narrator. The mother’s caring, soft manner shines through the book in a distant way, trusting the boy and his feelings; there on the periphery as needed. It’s a very tender book showing conscious, gentle parenting.
A Peep Inside
Here Ali from Floris Books shares this breath-taking book. I think I could listen to Ali all day!
I buy my Floris Books direct from them or have had them as part of a subscription from Yes Bebe Books. If you’re a subscriber to Floris Books’ newsletter you get, usually weekly, emails from them with offers on selected books. Subscribers also get a free book (from a selection of three) each time you order.
Floris Book Links
Here are links to the three that I’ve mentioned on the Floris site that you can find more information on:
Home of the Wild Activities
End Papers and Nature Exploring
The end papers are a swirl of leaves and twigs and would make an excellent spotting activity for your little nature explorer. What leaves have they seen before? You could use leaf ID cards – here’s a free tree ID sheet and twig ID sheet from Woodland Trust that you can download or there are Becca’s Fiddlesticks.Education tree flashcards (BUSYBUSYLEARNING code gives you 20% off).
History of the Home
I adore the kitchen in this story with the deep, butler sink and the kettle sat on the Aga giving you a feel for a warm and cosy spot for the boy and the fawn. The kitchen of my dreams! You may be lucky enough to have these wonderful, homely features in your home, but if not they would be such good discussion points and maybe the start of exploring kitchen appliances from history.
The story is set in Scotland and we love to find out about where our stories are from a little more. We have a globe and several atlases that we use to find out more about places in the books we read. Being based in England in the UK we are proud of our close connection to Scotland (and once we are allowed to travel freely, can’t wait to explore more). Fiddlesticks.Education have a UK map pack which you can mark your own places of interest on (BUSYBUSYLEARNING code gives you 20% off).
You get such a graphic, faithful understanding of the forest in the glen through the words and images.
‘He stumbles over bracken and lichen, over tree roots and moss.’
As avid nature explorers I loved that a book mentioned lichen and moss! Such wonders that can be found in so many different places around the world even popping up in concrete crevices in cities.
Deers of the World
The story certainly sparked an interest in fawn and deer with my daughter. If you’re looking to explore more about deer then Fiddlesticks.Education have a set of downloadable flashcards (BUSYBUSYLEARNING code gives you 20% off) that are a lovely starting point and explore deer from around the world. There are also free anatomy posters for two types of deer here.
Small World Play Props
It really doesn’t take much to set up a little scene to go with a story and you absolutely don’t need to buy anything specific; children have incredible imaginations! Our little Tender Lead wooden fawn was from Yes Bebe (BUSY10 discount code).
There are lots of deer/ fawn props and books you can find here. However you could always draw/ make your own. Often my daughter wants to be one of the characters in a book too. Of the props we do buy (again you can make lots yourself) we try and get things that can be used with many different books. We particularly love scarves as these make wonderful sweeping landscapes and really give a sense of the place you are. The green fabric below is a scarf, but we couldn’t quite find the right colour we wanted for the pale pink – it’s actually a tutu! The other things we love are trees. The ones below are by Papoose, but we have lots of different trees.
Sometimes children will want to re-enact the story in its entirety. Other times they may wish to act out particular scenes that they either enjoy or ones that may be a little more serious. Our daughter got very upset on an incredibly windy day a while back and ever since then if the wind is a little ferocious it makes her a little dubious to go outside. Home of the Wild has been a good book to be able to help her unpick some of her feelings around stormy weather and she has wanted to role-play parts of the story about finding shelter and being safe in the home. Stories are an ideal way to be able to explore feelings in a safe way.
Valuing Their Storytelling
Other children may wish to make up their own original stories using the characters or introduce other characters and props to innovate and take their story in different directions. You could video or audio record their retellings or new adventures for them to be able to listen/ watch back. We have a Tonies Box that you can add your own recordings to. It works really well for our (our daughter is four). We’re very temped to look at getting a Yoto Player when she is a little older to continue with this theme. Drawing or writing retellings or their own stories is also a lovely activity.
You can actually get books made now of your children’s artwork and stories. There are often offers on here at Photobox; they make lovely keepsake gifts for friends and family. In the past we’ve made little books out of our daughters drawings and mark making and bound them together with yarn to add to our bookshelves. I used to always do this when I was teaching too, it’s a beautiful way of honouring what children have done and showing them that their art and writing is just as valuable as any other book on the shelf.
Fiddlesticks.Education also have two other packs that might interest you if Home of the Wild sparks your little one’s interest. There’s a Highland Wildlife Nature Pack and an Alpine Nature Pack (again BUSYBUSYLEARNING code gives you 20% off). The Highland Wildlife Nature Pack focuses on animals and their habitats. Alpine Nature Pack has both Alpine flora and fauna including habitats and a section on animal diets and mountain landforms.
Home of the Wild Details
- Hardback book with dust jacket, ideal as a gift.
- 32 pages with colour illustrations – 250 x 270 mm
- For children aged 4-7.
- ISBN 987-178250-713-0 £12.99
- Author Louise Greig
- Illustrator Júlia Moscardó
- Published by Floris Books – 29th April 2021
- Busy Busy Learning highly recommended book – 5 stars
If you’ve enjoyed the ideas I’ve shared here you might like to have a look at this post on animal books. The post has another stunning release from Floris Books – Hello Baby Animals – Who Are You? A wonderful addition to their Hello Animals series.
You may also enjoy this post on ideas to go alongside The Story Orchestra series of books. They’re a superb introduction to classical music from a very early age with ideas to support early musical understanding and composition.