The Wild Book is the YA debut of one of Mexico’s foremost authors: a wondrous adventure story of a boy who goes to live with his kooky, book-obsessed uncle in a library where books have supernatural powers.
Thirteen-year-old Juan’s summer is off to a terrible start. First, his parents separate. Then, almost as bad, Juan is sent away to his strange Uncle Tito’s house for the entire holiday! Who wants to live with an oddball recluse who has zigzag eyebrows, drinks fifteen cups of smoky tea a day, and lives inside a huge, mysterious library? As Juan adjusts to his new life among dusty shelves, he notices something odd: the books move on their own! He rushes to tell Uncle Tito, who lets his nephew in on a secret: Juan is a Princeps Reader, which means books respond magically to him, and he’s the only one who can find the elusive, never-before-read Wild Book.
But will Juan and his new friend Catalina get to The Wild Book before the wicked, story-stealing Pirate Book does? An unforgettable adventure story about books, libraries, and the power of reading. Shy and uncertain, Juan learns from his uncle what makes him special, and how to embrace his uniqueness.
Featuring both a child of marital separation and a blind character, The Wild Book offers an opportunity for parents to introduce their children to the important issues of divorce and disability. Braille books are a major plot point, and there is no line drawn between the disabled and abled: we are all just lovers of stories.
The Wild Book is a YA debut by one of Mexico’s best-known authors.
It has sold over 1.3 million copies in Spanish.
Written by: Juan Villoro
Translated by: Lawrence Schimel
Published by: HopeRoad Publishing
Genre: MG Fantasy – Translated Fiction [Age Range 10 – 14]
Publication Date: September 21, 2019
Format: Paperback Original, Ebook available
This was such a lovely read, I was so happy to get a chance to read this, it was a wave of nostalgia for me. I had not read this before but for me, it was reminiscent of The Magician’s Nephew; in the way that it was a boy discovering more than he thought possible and for the simple fact that it felt like I was discovering magic all over again as I had as a child while reading.
MG fiction can be a great way for authors to give children messages about the real world while enchanting them and Villoro does a great job with this. Juan’s world is changing as he knows it, and though he is at first upset to be separated from his mother, he is thrown into a world that is both magical and filled with the small little lessons/steps to accepting change.
Villoro and Schimel bring such a whimsical tale to the table, the style as I mentioned earlier was enchanting for me.
By far my favorite character was Juan’s Uncle Tito. I also LOVED that in the end, it was probably him and Juan both that learned the greatest lessons. The library filled with books full of promise and adventure and Juan dealt with problems that many children face and the ending was perfect for this book.
Uncle Tito learns that there is more than the wonder of books, that people can be just as wonderful to have in your life and Juan on the flip side learns the wonder of books and that they can be wonderful and transport you to people.
I highly recommend this book for children who love magic no matter their age number of 10 or 100. Five cups of coffee from me!
Thank you to Anne Cater and HopeRoad Publishing for a copy of the book and being part of the tour in exchange for my honest opinion.
About the Author
Juan Villoro is Mexico’s most prolific, prize-winning author, playwright, journalist, and screenwriter. His books have been translated into multiple languages. Several of his books have appeared in English, including his celebrated 2016 essay collection on soccer, God Is Round (Restless Books). Villoro lives in Mexico City and is a visiting lecturer at Yale and Princeton universities.
About the Translator
Lawrence Schimel is an award-winning author and translator of books. He lives in Madrid and New York City.
About the Publisher
HopeRoad, set up in 2012, specialises in writers and writing from and about Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Their aim is to give a voice to writers and stories that might otherwise be missed by the mainstream book trade.
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