Imagine for a moment that every time you open your mouth to try to say what you need, to give your opinion, to try to share something funny, something scary, something sad with a friend... imagine that your voice gets stuck and your words don't come.  Imagine this happens to you in front of the kids in your class - not just once but again and again ....and they know it will happen....and they laugh... at you.

Imagine for a moment you are a snow leopard bought by a department store..... and sold to a woman who had no appreciation for nature and no appreciation that you are a wild creature who cannot say what you need or what is scaring you....you have no words.

In this deeply sensitive and caring story a young girl named Maggie has a stutter and her words don't come.  She is being sent down to stay with her grandfather in a part of England called Cornwall where there is a glorious forest with trees that are hundreds of years old.  That is where she will meet a snow leopard named Rumpus who has been abandoned in this glorious forest with no idea of how to feed himself or find his sister, Rosie.

Rumpus and Maggie, two lost creatures, find a friend in each other.  Can Maggie find a way to shout loud enough to be heard by the people of this village where she and her grandfather live?  Can Rufus survive being caught in a gin trap?

The glaring lack of awareness of the natural treasure in this community rings out.  The easy prejudice of many people when they encounter Maggie and her stutter is painful to watch.

Here is a deeply moving story about the value of every living creature - tree, leopard, child.  It is a call to us to pay attention to our natural world - the one nearby us each day - and to make choices - small or large - that will help each creature thrive.  What a wonderful way to live a life.

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com



When the fates of a snow leopard, a child, and an ancient forest collide, the unimaginable can happen. Perfect for fans of Pax and The One and Only Ivan.

Maggie Stephens’s stutter makes school especially hard. She will do almost anything to avoid speaking in class or calling attention to herself. So when her unsympathetic father threatens to send her away for so-called “treatment,” she reluctantly agrees to her mother’s intervention plan: a few weeks in the fresh air of Wildoak Forest, visiting a grandfather she hardly knows. It is there, in an extraordinary twist of fate, that she encounters an abandoned snow leopard cub, an exotic gift to a wealthy Londoner that proved too wild to domesticate.

But once the cub’s presence is discovered by others, danger follows, and Maggie soon realizes that time is running out, not only for the leopard, but for herself and the forest as well. ​ ​Told in alternating voices, Wildoak shimmers with beauty, compassion, and unforgettable storytelling as it explores the delicate interconnectedness of the human, animal, and natural worlds.---from the publisher

288 pages                                978-1338803860                         Ages 9-13

Keywords:  snow leopard, nature, animals, forest, environment, connection, compassion, stutter, values, finding your voice, point of view, self image, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old, historical fiction


Other reviews:

* "Harrington packs her memorably atmospheric debut with compelling issues, but her sharply felt portrayals of two vulnerable youngsters of different species bonding as they find their ways in hostile worlds will make the deepest impression." ― Kirkus Reviews, starred review

​​​​​​​“Reads like a classic. I loved it!” –Pam Muñoz Ryan, author of the bestsellers Esperanza Rising and the Newbery Honor book Echo 

"Wildoak makes us believe the world may well be as mysterious and as lovely and as possible as we had hoped." –Gary D. Schmidt, author of Just Like That and the Newbery Honor book The Wednesday Wars

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