Imagine growing up in the wilderness, with no adults to care for you, feed you or clothe you. Imagine sleeping outside all the time – winter and summer – not knowing any other human being or knowing how to talk.
In 1797 in southern France, mountain villagers returned home with what sounded like a crazy story – they had seen a strange boy, completely naked, digging in the forest. No one knew who he was. Then, a year later, he appeared again and a woodcutter captured him and marched him into the village.
Thus begins the tale of a nameless boy, who became known as the Savage of Aveyron. Mary Losure tells his story in Wild Boy: The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron. After escaping from the villagers, he was captured again a couple of years later. Eventually, he ended up in Paris, never fully ‘tamed’ and never able to speak. Scientists studied him, tried to teach him, tried to discover who he was and where he came from, but were unable to answer any questions about his past.
Timothy Basil Ering illustrates this fascinating book with dreamy graphite drawings which evoke emotions of wonder and confusion the boy must have felt trying to figure out the changes in his life.
Recommended for ages 7 and up (as a read-aloud); 9 and up (as a reader).