The Wild One is another picture book that Sonya Harnett has illustrated in partnership with Lucia Masciullo.
Their other books include Come Down, Cat! and The Boy and the Toy.
The Wild One is a beautiful fable about growing up, memory, friendship, belonging, aging and the circle of life all wrapped up in a gentle environmental message.
Hartnett & Masciullo's love of nature is evident in all the details. From the botanical drawings tucked into the corner of a page with their Latin name discreetly written underneath, to all the bugs and insects and mini-beasts scattered throughout.
Local Australian flora and fauna is celebrated as is diversity and variety.
The Wild One is a signature Hartnett tale - complex, rich, satisfying and oh so gentle on the moral. This is a story that will bear repeated visits to tease out its layers and to pour over the illustrations.
The only quibble I have is that most of the young children I've taught over the past 20 yrs prefer bright colours, snappy, funny text & instant gratification. For many children to fully appreciate the depth & quality of this tale, it will need to be introduced to them by a trusted teacher or parent.
This post is part of AusReading Month.