Nature connection is my jam. It’s literally my job to teach kids to enjoy and care for the environment and to make it a part of their lives. Come Be Wild With Me, by Kristen Maxwell, treads on ground that is dear to my heart, but this upcoming children’s book from Orenda Press is not my favorite way to share this topic with kids.
Come Be Wild With Me depicts a mom and a child leaving the city and adventuring through the forest, finding themselves along the way. The writing is vague and has a spacey, New-Age spiritual tone to it. Sometimes it tries to rhyme, sometimes it doesn’t. Very little of the text really struck a chord with me. The illustrations are primarily done in neat, dreamy greyscale watercolors. There are digital color elements overlayed on the watercolor base for some pages, but frankly, some of the large ones look tacky, and they detract from the pages they’re on. The high contrast black and white strikes me as almost ominous on the cover, nearly the opposite of what the book is aiming for. I also agree with some other early readers that the new looks the characters don are inspired by Native American dress, especially war bonnets, in a way that dips into problematic territory.
There are people and families that this book would be absolutely perfect for. It dovetails gracefully with the philosophies of a big subset of nature lovers, but I would not recommend it to anyone outside of that one community. In my mind, there are plenty of books better suited to inspiring nature connection, and most kids would get more out of a loving outdoor adventure than out of this book, anyway.
All in All…
- 2/5 sea stars
- Publication April 1, 2017, by Orenda Press
- 24 pages
- For fans of the ReWilding movement, nature connection, environmental activism
I received this book free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.