What is it about Gill Lewis that she can make me read and love books about wildlife? I know that children and animals are a great combination, but I tread with caution if it gets too wildlifey. Unless it’s Gill who’s written the story.
With Sky Dancer, I didn’t know how she’d pull off a satisfactory ending. It just felt a bit hopeless. Set in the north of England on a famous grouse moor, it is the rich landowner against his lowly gamekeeper on one side and the angry villagers on another.
Joe’s dad was gamekeeper, until he did something stupid and went to jail and then he died there. The whole family is suffering, and Joe’s older brother Ryan seems to be a clone of their dad, and the two boys don’t get on. Joe is friendly with the landowner’s daughter – Araminta [Minty] – and also the new girl next door, Ella, even if she strikes Joe as a bit feeble.
When a hen harrier is discovered on the moors, Joe doesn’t know what to do. Their livelihood depends on the birds going, but he doesn’t like killing wildlife, and besides, it’s illegal.
The story is lovely, as you watch the three children doing their best regarding both the future of the birds and their own. But what really makes this special is learning about the cause and effect of what happens on moors such as this, and what changes could happen and what they might entail.
Very inspiring. And just the right amount of exciting.