The North Somerset Teachers Book Award team has leapt into Saviour Pirotta’s third book in the Wolfsong series, The Mysterious Island;
Wolf’s rival, Rain, has stolen his precious amulet! Furious, Wolf is determined to retrieve it but following Rain takes him and Crow on a journey far beyond the world he knows—over oceans to mountains filled with fire and a mysterious island at the centre of the world.
Since his precious amulet ended up in Rain’s hands, Wolf has been determined to get it back. With Crow and Shadow by his side, he must leave the Whispering Stones and travel to the Island at the Centre of the World to retrieve his amulet and take Rain back home to face judgement by the elders. As they travel, they see many wonderful things and meet many new people, but there is an anger and a desire for revenge growing inside Wolf. In retrieving his amulet, he may lose himself.
Packed with historical details, Wolf’s latest adventure takes him across Neolithic Europe to the island of Malta (the Island at the Centre of the World). Building on the events of the two previous books, this story sees Wolf battling far darker emotions as his desire for justice turns to a need for revenge. Crow’s courage and determination are as strong as ever and once again, she is on hand to get them out of some tight situations.
Although a work of fiction, the children’s adventures take them to some amazing places which are vividly described, with an ‘author’s note’ at the end offering additional information. ‘The Cave of Dancing Animals’ is inspired by the caves at Lascaux in southwest France where an incredible array of prehistoric paintings adorn the walls. Perfect for inspiring further investigation of these original images, the fact that ochre was used to create these paintings is also seamlessly woven into the story, offering a great excuse to enjoy exploring and painting with nature materials whilst learning more about Wolf’s world. The children also visit ‘Growling Island’ (Sicily) where they learn more about the mining of ochre, but, more importantly to Crow, of the development of the use of bronze. The children are told of a legend explaining the discovery of this life changing material and the reader is subtly taught that bronze was being used in civilisations far from Britain, long before it arrived there.
The children’s final destination is Malta- the Island at the Centre of the World. Once again, the reader is treated to a wealth of detail about this fascinating location, full of megalithic temples built by Neolithic inhabitants. The story left me ashamed of how little I know about this and determined to visit, particularly to see the sleeping lady, a small clay figure which is the inspiration for ‘She Who Sleeps’ in the story.
Davide Ortu’s wonderful illustrations perfectly capture many of these details as well as scenes of the action and a map plotting the children’s incredible journey. There is so much to recommend these books as pacey adventures as well as a rich source of historical detail for anyone interested in or learning about this period of history.
Historic detail and a gripping adventure are brought together by a wonderful storyteller in the latest of the Wolfsong Series, ‘The Mysterious Island’.