The Wild Before

The Wild Before

By Author / Illustrator

Piers Torday



Age range(s)



Hachette Children's Group








Can one hare alone change the world? The captivating animal adventure destined to be loved by readers of all ages. A stunning hardback edition from the bestselling, much-loved author, Piers Torday. 

One stormy, snowy night, a pure silver calf is born on an ordinary muddy farm by the light of the moon. This is the legendary Mooncalf, whose arrival has been foretold since the dawn of time.  According to a dream passed down from animal to animal, if the calf dies, a great Terribleness will come - rising seas, a plague, skies raining down fire, the end of all things... and Little Hare vows to persuade all the animals to protect Mooncalf, whatever the cost.  But it's easier said than done, and soon Little Hare realises that he is the only one who can save the world...

A stunning prequel to the award-winning, bestselling The Last Wild trilogy, touching on timely themes of climate change, friendship, and above all, hope.



The Wild Before is a prequel to The Last Wild trilogy, which rank amongst some of my favourite books of all time. One night, the legendary Mooncalf, a pure white calf, was born, witnessed by Little Hare. The Mooncalf's coming has been foretold by animals for generations with the warning that, if the calf dies, a great terribleness will come, leading to the end of all time. Against the odds, Little Hare must try to rally the other animals to action to save the world.

This is everything we have come to expect from Piers Torday. Beautiful, lyrical writing combined with powerful story telling result in a magical tale full of wit and wisdom. The story focuses on the world of animals, particularly Little-Hare whose Fath-hare and Moth-hare died the previous summer and who now lives with Run-Hare, his sist-hare. Although young and small, it falls to this courageous and determined creature as the chosen one to save the world from the great Terribleness.

There is a powerful environmental message running through the story and the responses given by many animals to the hares' pleas for help mimic those often heard by humans who act as if they care about the environment, but rarely take action to help it. Hope lies with the future generations and it is the young ones who listen, seeking to change things.

Pier's attention to detail is as impressive as ever. A 'field guide to animal tongue' is included at the start of the book, allowing the reader to immerse themselves in this world a little further. Each animal has a real personality - Waxwing is persistent and determined, constantly challenging the hares to take action; Robin, pugnacious; Mouse, given to sarcasm and singing. Piers also weaves much fact and folklore about hares into the story.

There are harsher moments in the story, reflecting the gravity and perils of Little-Hare's situation and the reality of nature. This is a true quest to save the world and those involved stake their lives on their mission to change the future. Highly recommended!

240 pages / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


What an absolutely brilliantly written and well-timed story! Piers Torday wrote The Wild Before during lockdown. It is the prequel to The Last Wild series but you do not lose anything by reading them out of order.

Torday manages to tie in a multitude of topics that are important to bring to the forefront of everyone's thoughts: climate change, pandemics and humans living harmoniously with nature.  A plague is roaring through the wild where Little-Hare lives, a silver-coloured calf has been born, Mooncalf, and animal legend predicts that if anything happens to Mooncalf then a great terribleness will come...

Being the chosen one comes with immense pressure and Little-Hare soon realises that he will need a lot of courage and every creature's help if he has any hope of keeping Mooncalf safe. It is clear to see the links with the current pandemic and what better way to support teaching and elicit conversations than through a story, where you can't help but fall in love with the enchanting characters. A story of courage, friendship, bravery and nature.

240 pages / Reviewed by Kelly Buxton, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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