Sophie Kirtley has written her debut novel for children, The Wild Way Home cleverly intertwining present-day life with the Stone Age to present a challenging, absorbing, adventure. Her style is immediate and in the present tense. The reader feels as if the happenings are now and he or she is involved.
As a part of a close and loving family, Charlie is about to have his eleventh birthday, while his mother is due to have a second child. Father is caring for the family as Mother has been unwell. The family live next to a forest where Charlie and his best friends play happily, hiding from each other, climbing trees, and exploring. Charlie is a collector and finds things in the forest from earlier times. On this day he finds a deer tooth, with markings.
When the boy returns home, he finds his Mother has gone to hospital and the baby has been born. His father collects him and takes him to see his Mother and his new baby brother. Charlie is ecstatic to meet Dara and is amazed at his tiny size. It is then that the doctor informs them that Dara has a faulty heart and will need surgery.
Charlie is overwhelmed and runs away to the forest where he soon finds himself back in the Stone Age. There has been a time slip and here the adventure really begins.
A boy of a similar age, Hartboy, has fallen into a stream and is unconscious. Charlie drags him to the edge of the water, and together they face survival in a hostile forest. Wolves, bears and other wild creatures threaten the boys, but through cunning and support they manage to find a safe haven.
The Wild Way Home is a gripping adventure as the reader is not sure how Charlie can return to his own world. We also wonder how he can find the courage to love and support his baby brother through the risky times ahead.
|Distributor||Bloomsbury Children's Books|