cover image Where My Wellies Take Me

Where My Wellies Take Me

Clare and Michael Morpurgo, illus. by Olivia Lomenech Gill. Candlewick/Templar, $29.99 (110p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6629-3

The pages of this expansive anthology from War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and his wife, Clare, are crowded with memoir, sketches, and countryside poetry. An introduction explains that Clare was allowed to wander wherever she liked as a child in a Devon village. Lyrical journal entries based on Clare’s memories are written in the voice of an eight-year-old girl named Pippa: “A hare sits taller than a rabbit, stiller, and he’s browner. And when he runs, he goes, well... like a hare, jinking and weaving, till he weaves himself into the long grass and he’s gone.” Debut artist Gill’s closely observed drawings of wildlife, farmers, and landscapes tinted in gentle, rained-out colors join hand-lettered sections of prose. Gatefolds, transparent overlays, and photos of pressed flowers add to the sense of a collection of fragments; it’s like a box of treasures kept by a child underneath the bed. The poetry includes a wealth of high-order selections from British poets like John Clare, Norman MacCaig, and Ted Hughes. Anglophiles will be eager to share this bit of British countryside with children they know. Ages 6–9. (Aug.)