The last place Esme wants to spend the holiday weekend is stuck at her Gran’s house in the middle of nowhere, but with mum away working, she resigns herself to boredom. Gran, however, has other plans. She needs Esme to help her put right a terrible mistake – and she has roped in Esme’s fiery classmate Callum to lend a hand.
Gran’s ‘mistake’ was adopting Cora, an ‘abandoned’ kitten that she found, and which turned out to be a lynx kit. The children are tasked with returning her to her wild home and encouraging her to use her instincts – with a little help from the loveable Shug the dog.
With only mutual dislike and a lack of enthusiasm for their task in common, Esme and Callum set out on an excursion through the countryside that is fraught with danger and drama, on which both will learn as much about the wilder sides of themselves as their environment.
This story has a powerful sense of adventure, but its highlight is the dynamic between these characters, who grow richly through their experiences of the landscape and each other. I particularly enjoyed the fact that their challenge is brought about by elderly ladies who have done something that they probably shouldn’t have – and that it’s the children who take on the responsibility of putting things right.
Lindsay Littleson seems to have an instinct for honing in on a hot topic (from unicorns to mermaids) and finding a fresh and original way to help us explore it. In the Rewilders, she has done it again, inspiring readers to think carefully about both the rewards and the risks of reintroducing predators to countryside where they once belonged. It is both a celebration of the landscape we have, and a reflection about what should come next.
The Rewilders by Lindsay Littleson, Cranachan (out March 24th)
This review is part of the blog tour for The Rewilders. Follow @cranachanbooks on twitter for more info, or look out for more content on the dates and blogs below.