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The Wild Way Home

Written by Sophie Kirtley

Adventure Stories Debuts of the Month Featured Books for 7+ readers Featured Books for 9+ readers Historical Fiction

LoveReading View on The Wild Way Home

A heartfelt Stone Age time-slip adventure brimming with bravery and brotherly love

July 2020 Debut of the Month

Melding the mystery of a parallel prehistoric world with real-life worries that seem too terrible to face, this emotionally-sensitive debut will enthral thoughtful, adventure-loving 8+ year-olds - think Stig of the Dump meets Wolf Brother meets A Monster Calls for younger readers.


Right before the birth of his baby brother, Charlie discovers a deer tooth in Mandel Forest. He’s so thrilled, “a little shiver tingles like a breath across my shoulder blades”, and he strangely feels “the weight of someone watching me.” When his brother Dara is born with a heart problem, Charlie is gripped by anxiety. His poorly sibling reminds him of a featherless baby bird. His cry is “a horrible, thin squawk, birdlike too,” and Charlie is too scared to hold him, too scared to stick around in the hospital when the doctor arrives with the results of Dara’s tests. So, Charlie flees to the woods where he comes to the aid of a deerskin-clad boy. A lad named Hartboy who’s seeking his baby sister, just as Charlie fears he might lose his baby brother. It’s not long before Charlie realises that – somehow – he’s been transported back to the Stone Age. As he steps-up to help Hartboy, encountering wild beasts and a mysterious shadow man in woods that are at once familiar and strange to him, Charlie learns valuable life lessons that equip him for his return to the real world: “You can’t just avoid stuff forever, can you? No matter how sad it is.”


Suffused in the wonders of nature and a timeless sense of myth, the adventure-spiked plot is perfectly punctuated by emotional breathers that allow Charlie to find courage, and a way home - back to his family, back to his beloved baby brother.

Joanne Owen

The Wild Way Home Synopsis

When Charlie's longed-for brother is born with a serious heart condition, Charlie's world is turned upside down. Upset and afraid, Charlie flees the hospital and makes for the ancient forest on the edge of town. There Charlie finds a boy floating face-down in the stream, injured, but alive.

But when Charlie sets off back to the hospital to fetch help, it seems the forest has changed. It's become a place as strange and wild as the boy dressed in deerskins. For Charlie has unwittingly fled into the Stone Age, with no way to help the boy or return to the present day. Or is there? What follows is a wild, big-hearted adventure as Charlie and the Stone Age boy set out together to find what they have lost - their courage, their hope, their family and their way home.

Fans of Piers Torday and Stig of the Dump will love this wild, wise and heartfelt debut adventure.

The Wild Way Home Press Reviews

This thrilling time-slip adventure oozes magic and heart  Bookseller Editor's Choice

So good I read it twice   Hilary McKay, author of The Skylarks' War

I loved this unique quirky story full of heart   Jasbinder Bilan, author of Asha and the Spirit Bird

Delivers in spades. It made me laugh, cry, gasp and turn the pages for one more chapter every time I had to stop   Nizrana Farook, author of The Girl Who Stole an Elephant

With echoes of Skellig, this story is so smoothly told I barely stopped. A really powerful debut and definitely a must in every school library    Fleur Hitchcock for Waterstones Bookseller Reviews

Reminiscent of Skellig and Stig of the Dump, The Wild Way Home is a lovely time-slip adventure full of heart, family and finding your feet when times are tough    Anna Fargher, author of Umbrella Mouse

An exciting debut that takes us on a timeslip adventure into the deep past, where survival is at the point of a spear and family is the only thing you have to hold onto    A.F. Harrold

Gorgeously magical and achingly real. I loved every character in this book and I devoured the whole story in a breathless rush because I couldn't stop reading (even when it made me cry)  Stephanie Burgis, author of The Dragon With a Chocolate Heart

A beautiful story of things ancient and eternal. Kirtley convincingly creates and navigates the difficult landscapes of both Stone Age Ireland and contemporary family life in this big-hearted, gripping debut.    Kelly McCaughrain

A tense, emotionally charged time-slip story ... deeply moving and at times heart-breaking. Coming soon and eminently worth the wait    Irish Examiner

It is a heart-warming, magical book that has family, friendship and overcoming difficulties at its core. I couldn't put it down!  NetGalley user

A captivating story of self-discovery and realising what is truly important in life    Scope For Imagination

Perfect for an UKS2 Stone Age topic, or for a nature or history lover, this world was immersive and believable and characters, settings and plot line were written with extraordinary attention to detail. Beautiful!   NetGalley Reviewer 

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781526616289
Publication date: 01/07/2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781526616289
Publication date: 1st July 2020
Author: Sophie Kirtley
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 256 pages
Suitable for: 7+ readers, 9+ readers
Genres: Adventure Stories, Historical Fiction
Recommendations: Debuts of the Month

About Sophie Kirtley

Sophie Kirtley grew up in Northern Ireland and spent her childhood climbing on hay bales, rolling down sand dunes and leaping the raw Atlantic waves. Nowadays she lives in Wiltshire with her family and their mini-menagerie of pets and wild things. Sophie has always loved stories: she has taught English, and has worked in a theatre, a bookshop and a tiny pub where folk tell fairy tales by candlelight. She is a prize-winning published poet. The Wild Way Home is her debut novel.

More About Sophie Kirtley

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