Finding Wild

Sometimes the most striking picture books are the ones that make readers see something in a new way, or that creatively express a concept regularly pondered but rarely put into words.

In Finding Wild, debut author Megan Wagner Lloyd poetically explores the idea of wildness, and Abigail Halpin (illustrator of Bella's Rules) uses watercolor and colored pencil to paint this irrepressible "wild" as it "pushes through cracks and crannies and steals back forgotten places." As the book begins, Lloyd asks, "What is wild? And where can you find it?" Two children with matching blue backpacks emerge from a subway station, ready to find out. A single airborne leaf beckons, full of promise, luring them into a jungle-lush park. Impossibly, the two adventurers are then traipsing through the hills and dales of the natural world: "Wild is forest-fire hot and icicle cold" and "Wild roars and barks and hisses and brays. It storm-thunders and wind-whispers." (Here the two intrepid souls are huddled in a mountaintop tent in the stormy blue night.)

At journey's end, as they emerge into the city from the park they first entered, they see the stretch of lifeless pavement and how "[s]ometimes the wild is buried too deep." But that swirling leaf is still there to remind them that wild is never far away. A lifelong game could be made of finding the "wild" wherever you are, be it in the howl of a wolf, the sting of a bee or the smell of a salty sea. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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