Evie And The Animals by Matt Haig, illustrated by Emily Gravett

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Cover and internal illustrations by Emily Gravett

Evie Trench loves animals, whether big or little, fluffy or scaly, winged or finned. And, she has her very own secret superpower; she can talk with animals too. But, it’s a superpower her Dad tells her never to use as it brings deadly danger with it, so she keeps quiet about her friendship with a sparrow and a dog.

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After the incident with the rabbit, she promises him she will never use her talent again. And she doesn’t. Well not until the incident with the lion, and that’s when everything changes. With every animal in danger, can Evie find the courage to embrace who she is in time to save everyone she loves?

Perfectly paced with plenty of peril, Evie And The Animals is a hugely entertaining, empathetic, heartfelt, humourous hug of a book. Themes of family, friendship, self belief and conservation weave together around characters that you care about. I especially loved Evie’s relationship with her grandmother.

As ever with Matt Haig’s writing, there are golden nuggets of wisdom on mental health that are written in a way that slip seamlessly into the story. Grandma’s wisdom on rock bottom particularly resonated with me.

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Emily Gravett’s delightful illustrations capture the essence of the characters and animals, and add extra warmth and humour to this wonderful story.

Animal lovers will eat up the facts and go scurrying to find out more which makes this a perfect class read alongside topics on animals. The Teachers’ Pack For KS2 includes extracts, discussion questions and activities that are aimed at developing children’s awareness of the natural world around them, stimulating discussion around important themes in the story, and can be found at Canongate.

Huge thanks to Shapes4Schools and Canongate for sending me a copy for review.

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