The Rescue of Ravenwood by Natasha Farrant

The Rescue of Ravenwood – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Adventure, family, bravery, nature, community.
Children’s book title: The Rescue of Ravenwood.
Children’s author: Natasha Farrant.
Genre: Eco-adventure.
Published by: Faber Children’s.
ISBN: 9780571348787.
Recommended for children aged: 9-12.
First published: Paperback February 2023.
This children’s book is ideal for: KS2 & KS3 eco-warriors.

The Rescue of Ravenwood by Natasha Farrant

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Our review:

“Bea and Raffy came to Ravenwood when they were babies, and they loved it straight away.”

Bea was only meant to be visiting Ravenwood when her father took her to his old family home to see her uncle and give her mother a break. But Bea loved the place so much – and her mother did need her rest – so Bea ended up staying.

Raffy wasn’t meant to be at Ravenwood at all but on the night that Bea arrived, Raffy’s mother was looking for a fresh start and found one at Ravenwood with Bea’s uncle.

11 years later and Bea and Raffy are the best of friends, as close as siblings. They adore their composite family and the wildness of the Ravenwood estate. Bea has only sporadic contact with her parents and she and Raffy are looking forward to a blissful summer before going to secondary school. They have plans for a tree house, swimming in the cove and having adventures on the longboat that Bea’s uncle carved from a fallen tree.

“The first day of the holidays dawned, bright and sunny. A morning for a celebratory swim, perhaps, or exploring the woods to decide where to build a den, or stealing strawberries from the kitchen garden.”

But the summer doesn’t go as planned. First off there’s Noa, who comes to stay while her mother is working overseas and who struggles to adjust to the carefree lifestyle Bea and Raffy enjoy. Then Raffy’s mother reveals the existence of a heretofore unknown Grandmother and takes Raffy off to the concrete jungle of London for a visit. Bea is then summoned on holiday with her parents, leaving Noa alone at Ravenwood. When disaster strikes, firstly in the form of a fire, and then family treachery, it’s up to Noa to help bring Raffy and Bea back home so the three friends can fight to save their beloved home.

The Rescue of Ravenwood is a classic adventure tale of discovering your inner bravery and fighting for justice. It brings to mind the adventurous spirit of Swallows and Amazons and the eco-awareness of Journey to the River Sea. Themes of chosen families, celebrating individuality and the fallibility of adults run throughout the story. A large publicity campaign is planned for Spring 2023, with tie-tins to World Book Day.

The descriptions of the countryside around Ravenwood are evocative and reinforce the idea that all nature is valuable. The British countryside may not be as dramatically stunning as the jungles of Costa Rica but rolling green hills, sheltered coves and quiet ponds (which may or may not contain rare species of newt) are treasures well worth protecting.

“Ravenwood is precious. And we have to fight for the precious places, don’t we? It might not change the world for everyone, but it’s a start isn’t it?”

The Rescue of Ravenwood will appeal to budding eco-warriors and fans of Eva Ibbotson and Lauren St John.

Many thanks to Faber Children’s for the review copy.

If you like The Rescue of Ravenwood by Natasha Farrant you might also like: our reviews of Stone by Finbar Hawkins, By Rowan and Yew by Melissa Harrison, Song of the Far Isles by Nicholas Bowling, Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha Farrant and The Time Traveller and the Tiger by Tania Unsworth.

Browse our list of books for Year 5.

About Melanie Dillon

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Melanie has a Master’s degree in Information and Library Management; a Post Graduate Certificate in Children’s Literature focusing on the Reading Agency’s Reading Well scheme & LGBT YA fiction, and extensive experience working in school and public libraries. Linkedin | Reviews by Melanie Dillon