The wild world can be found close by, even in the city.
A light-skinned child with dark braids and another with blond hair venture into a green space near a subway entrance. The path through dense foliage leads to mountains and lakes, a winter landscape, a meadow in bloom, a rocky shore above blue water for swimming. Lloyd’s poetic, philosophical text poses and answers a question: “What is wild?” The answer, unrelated to Sendak’s dancing monsters, stays within the context of Earth, nature, and weather. Halpin’s digitally finished watercolor-and–colored-pencil drawings offer delicate leafy landscapes and bright flowers as well as evocative scenes of night and stormy skies. The author suggests ways that the wild world can be experienced. “Wild is full of smells—fresh mint, ancient cave….” It can be felt: “wild is forest-fire hot and icicle cold”; and it can be sweet: “honey from bees…and juice-bursting blackberries.” It makes noise: “it storm-thunders and wind-whispers.” When the children emerge from their adventure, the text carries a lament for the difficulty of finding “wild” in a place that is “clean and paved, ordered and tidy / …[with] streets and cars and buildings so high, they hide the sky.”
If the essence of “wild” remains elusive, perhaps that is partly the point—“wild” can’t be contained but is hidden and waiting to be discovered. (Picture book. 4-10)