When the Wild Calls by Nicola Penfold

When the Wild Calls – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Escape, adventure, wild, disease, worry.
Children’s book title: When the Wild Calls.
Children’s author: Nicola Penfold.
Genre: Children’s fiction.
Published by: Little Tiger.
ISBN: 9781788956215.
Recommended for children aged: 9-12 year-olds.
First published: Paperback April 2024.
This children’s book is ideal for: Inspiring creative writing about wilderness, wild places, protecting the environment and mitigating climate change.

When the Wild Calls by Nicola Penfold

To see the latest price or order, click on the book cover image.

Our review:

For me When the Wild Calls is a thrilling blend of the Hunger Games and the Covid pandemic. Written in the first person, present tense, it follows a brother-sister duo, Juniper and Bear, who escape deadly disease in a city in lockdown run by a cruel and heartless leader.

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Eventually, they found safety in the Wild – a place called Ennerdale – with their dad and his family. But Juniper and Bea are forced to leave loved ones Annie-Rose their grandmother, and Etienne their friend, behind – so they hatch a dangerous plan to journey back to the city.

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Our verdict:

As a lover of the outdoors, it is so refreshing to see how Nicola Penfold has written the Wild to be the most beautiful, refreshing place.

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As Nicola Penfold writes about Juniper and Bear on their journey, readers will get a vivid feel for their surroundings and picture their environment.

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When the Wild Calls is a thrilling journey of adventure that leaves the reader wanting more and more. Expect 9-12-year-olds to get hooked on Juniper and Bear’s compelling ecological story. Highly recommended.

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Teaching points and book club discussion ideas:

  • This book’s pace, rich language and ecological themes make it an ideal contemporary class reader for years 5 & 6.
  • This book is the perfect impetus for creative writing about wild places, wilderness and the landscape.
  • The relatable characters and convincing stations make this book a useful resource for hot-seating in English and drama.

Many thanks to Little Tiger for the review copy.

To order a class set of this book, please click below to order via uk.bookshop.org, an organisation that supports local bookshops, or Amazon.co.uk.

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If you like When the Wild Calls by Nicola Penfold you might also like: our reviews of Outside In by Daniel Thompson, Ultrawild by Steve Mushin, By Ash, Oak and Thorn by Melissa Harrison and Nowhere Island by Tania Unsworth.

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About Katy Andrews

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I am a teaching assistant and have been for 7+ years now. I have two small children of my own, one has just started reception and her coming home every night with a book as she begins her reading journey is just the most amazing thing to me. I love reading to them, my children at school and I love hearing children read and sink into a book! | Reviews by Katy Andrews