Where the World Turns Wild – Nicola Penfold

This is an absolutely stunning book that I fell straight into the adventure of, adoring brother and sister characters Juniper and Bear from the offset. The bond between the two is unbreakable as they constantly have each others backs and understand one another in ways that only close siblings would, which is incredibly heartwarming to read. This is a story of survival, family, perseverance, separation, loss, discovery, and so much more besides.

When a small group of people decide to release a virus into the world, using ticks to spread it, the outcome is the death of a large portion of the population. Those that can make necessary adjustments to try to survive, and consequently people build boundaries from the rest of the world, shutting out the wild which is carrying the ticks and living completely cut off. Anyone that remains in the wild is considered an outsider and as such is not welcome. Juniper and Bear were born in the wild, they were delivered to grandma within the manmade city that she lives in, in a bid to keep them safe from the virus. The two siblings are treated like outsiders at school which makes fitting in and doing well difficult, and when the attention of the head teacher is fixed entirely on them they must make some difficult decisions in order to survive in this dystopian landscape.

This is where the adventure really begins, and this is the sort that sweeps you off your feet as you take in vast landscapes, dangerous situations, strangers, and a level of uncertainty that keeps you alert, perched on the edge of your seat as you immerse yourself into more and more of this books story. The characters are relatable to the reader irrespective of whether they are a boy or girl and have siblings or not, and this book would undoubtedly appeal to all confident chapter readers looking for adventure with a degree of risk involved. This book does not disappoint, other than when it ends and you really wanted more – much more, especially as Bear, Juniper and Ghost, a wild Cat they befriend, steal your heart and feel like family by the time the book concludes. It is with great difficulty that you walk away from these characters and the landscape that has become familiar to you as you enjoy the chapters within this truly prodigious story.

This is definitely a story woven with surviving against all odds throughout, ultimately ensuring the reader is captivated all the way through which is the sort of quality text that belongs in all upper KS2 classrooms. There is a definite appeal to this book being a Power of Reading scheme book or something similar, and would see children’s imaginations come to life in their work, the depth at which they would be learning as well as appreciating the story being of great delight to teachers across the country. Nicola Penfold has created a masterpiece of a book for a generation of incredibly lucky children, getting to walk into bookshops or a library and finding this book amongst the shelves definitely offers them an unforgettable adventure that the likes of myself wish we had available to us when we were younger, and I truly envy each child that picks up this title and reads it for the first time, meeting Juniper and Bear and walking the same paths as them.

Where the World turns Wild is written by Nicola Penfold, and published by Little Stripes. It is available to purchase in all good bookshops.

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