Monday, March 10, 2014

Robber Girl by Margaret Wild & Donna Rawlins

This book by Margaret Wild is probably best suited to upper primary students due to the language which is heavily influenced by traditional literature and its themes of physical and emotional isolation. That's not to say that the book isn't accessibe to, or couldn't be enjoyed and unpacked by a younger audience; depends on their experience with literature I guess. The illustrations by Donna Rawlins place Wild’s tale in the deep and unrelenting winter of a pre-industrial Europe with Wild drawing on many familiar motifs from this time, notably the feral child, the stolen child and groups of three in terms of animals and events. The main character "the robber girl" yearns for human companionship, yet finally understands that a person cannot really enjoy or justify keeping what is not rightfully theirs. The story centres around a young girl who ekes out an existence in an untamed forest which is harsh and unforgiving during the long winter months. Her closets companions are a wise old bear, a wolf and an owl. Despite their protective and nuturing ways, she feels overwhelmed by lonliness during the dark wintery months and when a farmer's son, Josiah, strays far from the house one day, the "robber girl" is compelled to do what she does... 

"Robber girl" with her companions, old bear, fox and owl

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