Big Sky Mountain: The Forest Wolves
* LONGLISTED FOR THE ALLIGATOR’S MOUTH AWARD
Welcome to Big Sky Mountain: a home for everyone!
There is never a dull day on Big Sky Mountain! Rain or shine, there is always something that needs doing. Rosa and Grandma Nan are busy building a bigger cabin when a storm strikes, and a host of animals descend for shelter. There is one unexpected visitor: a tiny wolf cub. This little wolf doesn’t seem like the scary, giant-fanged forest wolves that Rosa has heard about! Can the cub really be part of their pack? Rosa and Grandma Nan set off into the forest to find out . . .
Funny and charming; Alex Milway has made me want to fly right into Big Sky Mountain myself. * Andy Shepherd, author of THE BOY WHO GREW DRAGONS * I want to go to Big Sky Mountain! It's the rugged wilderness, but much softened by a comfy bear who's a travelling salesman, a moody architect hare and some busy builder beavers who still have to learn about how to get along with the rest of the community. * Sarah McIntyre, illustrator of PUGS OF THE FROZEN NORTH * This is a perfect, big-hearted adventure story, with pictures and laughs on every page and an environmental message delivered with the lightest touch. Once you have met the wonderful cast of talking animals, warmed to Nan's peculiar ways and found your feet in the wilderness, like Rosa you'll never want to leave Big Sky Mountain. * Clara Vulliamy * As a HUGE fan of feisty grandmothers I LOVED Grandma Nan in Big Sky Mountain! Wise, capable and fearless she is the perfect role model for her granddaughter Rosa. A wild adventure with an important message, bravo! * Sophy Henn, author and illustrator of BAD NANA * The perfect adventure to rewild young readers * Benji Davies, author and illustrator of GRANDAD'S ISLAND * Big Sky Mountain plunges its young protagonist Rosa into a wild world, miles from other humans, except for her doughty Grandma Nan, apparently based on Alex Milway's own grandmother. We know we're in for free-wheeling adventures when Rosa is dropped off by bi-plane at Grandma Nan's log cabin and very soon the two are going for their first hike into the forest, though by then Rosa has connected with local wildlife to such an extent that she's having chats with a moose, Albert, and soon befriends a beaver couple. The mix of outdoor adventure and talking-animals magic works well, the latter providing a sense of security for readers who can be sure Rosa won't come to harm with her wild neighbours looking out for her, and making the wide, open spaces friendlier all round. It underlines too the theme of the book, which is that, animal or human, we share one planet and that we need to live in harmony if we want to survive. There's a great deal of humour in the book but Milway successfully brings a sense of exhilaration at the beauty of the natural world too, and realises his ambition to pen 'a love letter to nature'. His two colour illustrations add to the charm and make the reading experience even more fun. * Books For Keeps * Young readers who like animals and dream of exciting outdoor adventures with just a touch of magic, will love Alex Milway's new series. Rosa doesn't know what to expect when the tiny plane drops her off at her Grandma Nan's house on Big Sky Mountain. It's deep in the wilderness, about 200 miles from the shops, and the nearest neighbour is a moose called Albert. Albert is a talking moose in fact and Rosa quickly makes friends with a whole host of other animals, all perfectly able to have a chat. Adventures come thick and fast, and Rosa finds herself relying for help on these capable animals. It's great wish-fulfilment stuff, who wouldn't want to live with animal friends and an unflappable grandma in the middle of such beautiful countryside. The animal characters provide lots of humourous moments and beneath it all there are important messages about the environment too. Wild, and gently wonderful. -- Andrea Reece * Love Reading * Alex Milway dedicates this book to his Gran who was as "tough as boots and absolutely fearless". Very early on we meet the "wild haired old lady" who is the fictional equivalent of his own grandmother. This wonderful old lady is Grandma Nan Wild who has lived on her own for twenty three years in a log cabin on the shore of Jewel Lake, two hundred miles from the nearest houses and shops, in the wilderness that is Big Sky Mountain. Nan's solitude is brought to an end by the arrival of Rosa, her granddaughter, a city girl who has come to live with her and who has nowhere else to go. Tom, the pilot of a tiny seaplane delivers essential supplies to Nan every few months and this time his cargo contains an unexpected item: Rosa introduces herself but no precious story time is spent on whys or wherefores or history and, along with Rosa, the reader is flown into Nan Wild's world of Big Sky Mountain with resident moose, owls, wolves and a never-ending horizon. Just before he leaves Tom forecasts a storm rolling in from the north and he leaves Rosa and Nan to get acquainted. The predicted storm arrives "good and strong" but the homely warmth of the fairy tale log cabin offers security and comfort and the next day Rosa and Nan embark on the adventure that is central to the story. We soon meet Albert the moose, and he is just the first of an entertaining bunch of creatures that share this corner of the wilderness with Nan. Rosa learns to respect and care for these new friends and in his note at the end of the book Alex Milway explains how important this is to him: Rosa finds her own wildness in Big Sky Mountain as she learns to paddle and steer a canoe and mediates in a war between a grumpy hare, who doesn't like change and newcomer beavers who have arrived to create a new home on Gold River. The natural world is an ever-present force throughout the book. In chapter nine, Nan and Rosa make a shelter and camp out under the stars by the river. This is the first time Rosa has slept outdoors and Alex Milway captures the magic with an economy that will resonate with his young readers: Rosa learns from Nan how to live in and treasure this wonderful world that we share with animals and nature and the importance of peaceful co-existence is the core theme of the book - we all have a right to be here. These serious subjects are delivered with humour and fun via the developing relationship between Rosa and Nan. Happily, we will enjoy more Rosa and Nan adventures because Big Sky Mountain is the first of a four-book series. The maps, illustrations and notes from the author (the one about cabins is particularly good) add greatly to the overall reading experience. The adventure ends with Rosa telling her adventure story to Mr Hibberdee, an itinerant bear that sells his honey and jam to the creatures of Big Sky Mountain. The bear decides that Rosa's story is worth more than money, that it was a pleasure doing business with her and gives her another jar of honey. * The School Reading List *
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