The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward

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The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A delightful book about respecting the rights of wild animals, with the moral being delivered in a gentle blame-free way. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: May 2008
Publisher: Puffin Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0141500300

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When she was little, our narrator and her friend went to the magic pond in Bluebell Wood. It was rather naughty because they said that they were going to see another friend, but didn't. When they got to the pond they found a bog baby:

He was the size of a frog, only round and blue.
He had boggly eyes and a spiky tail and I do remember he had ears like a mouse.
He came swinging through the flower stalks and jumped into the water.
He floated up and down on his back and sucked his toes.

A beautiful wild animal (albeit one which we might not recognise) had shown itself to the girls and they did what children – and even some adults - are prone to do in that situation. They took the bog baby home. Of course they couldn't tell Mum what they'd done because then it would be obvious that they'd lied about going to a friend's house, so they kept the bog baby in the shed, in a bucket and fed him cake crumbs.

But – bog babies don't live in buckets and eat cake crumbs, or, as the girls did, walk on a lead. Eventually bog baby became so poorly that Mum had to be told, regardless of the consequences and she explained that bog baby was a wild animal and she and the girls took it back to the magic pond in Bluebell Wood.

If we really loved the bog baby, we had to do what was best for him.
No matter how much it hurt us.
That was real love.
That's why we let him go.

Off bog baby went and the girls never saw it again. That might sound rather sad but it isn't because it seems that bog baby thrived when he was back in the wild and when our narrator's own daughter discovered the magic pond it wasn't just one bog baby that she found.

It's a delightful story which will bring home in a very gentle way the responsibility that we all have to the world around us, as it's not just the (mythical) bog baby who shouldn't be kept in a shed, it's all wild animals who have a right to be free, wild plants which should remain in the wild and even people who should not be forced to conform. This might look like a book about a small blue animal but it's actually about the biggest right there is – freedom.

Gwen Millward's illustrations perfectly complement the text with gentle pastel colours and plenty to talk about on every page.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

For another book about respecting other people we recommend The Scallywags by David Melling.

Buy The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward at Amazon.com.


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