Rundell, Katherine Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, 245 p. Simon, 2014 (U.S. edition). $17. Content: G.
Will (Wilhelmina) has spent her life until now run wild on the African savanna with her best friend Simon. Each day is filled with adventure and beauty as she knows the ways of the wild places. Her father is the foreman of a huge ranch. When he becomes ill, he is shabbily cared for by a woman who has her sights set on the owner of the ranch and millions of dollars. Will’s father dies, Cynthia wins her man and her first order of business is to send Will away - to boarding school in England - a land with its own wild, dangerous beings and places where taking a misstep can put you in danger. WIll hates this new life with all of her heart.
Unlike the main character in The Little Princess, Will is not a princess waiting to be rescued. She would rather live among the monkeys at the zoo than submit to this strange world where “proper manners” disguise ugliness. I was charmed and fascinated by Will. Even though the audience for the book will never be large in children’s libraries, it is well worth reading for those few with deep thoughts. Will has the potential to touch as many hearts as Sarah Crewe did. I would suggest this to Mother-Daughter book clubs, or something to read aloud together.
EL, MS - OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS.