When the Wild Calls

When the Wild Calls

By Author / Illustrator

Nicola Penfold



Age range(s)



Little Tiger




Paperback / softback




The journey winds through me, twisted and turned, like a difficult second spine...

Having escaped their city, Juniper Green and her brother Bear have settled in Ennerdale with their dad and his family. Every day the Wild introduces them to a new wonder, but Juniper can't stop worrying about her grandmother and best friend left behind. When she hears news that disease has entered the city, she's determined to bring her loved ones to safety.

Trapped in a city riddled with disease and run by a ruthless leader, Etienne longs for the Wild. With the guards becoming more aggressive to counteract the growing rebellion, Etienne's prepared to fight for his freedom. But will he be able to protect himself and keep those around him safe until Juniper returns from the Wild?

The compelling and thought-provoking sequel to the much-loved Where the World Turns Wild, this ecological adventure is perfect for fans of The Last Bear, Running on the Roof of the World and The Last Wild. 

Watch Nicola Penfold introduce When the Wild Calls, and find out more in our author Q&A

Praise for When the Wild Calls:  "A triumph of a sequel. Emotional punch and ecological awareness wrapped up in an exciting adventure. It was a joy to return." Hannah Gold, author of The Last Bear.  "Brave, insightful and beautifully written" Zillah Bethell, author of The Shark Caller.  "Penfold's writing is startling. It delivers such a crucial eco message, raw in its honesty, poetic and heartfelt, and ultimately sings with hope." Jasbinder Bilan, author of Aarti and the Blue Gods.  "A brilliant and thoughtfully written ecological adventure ... Love, love, loved it!" A M Howell, author of Peril on the Atlantic.  "Wonderful, wild and warm-hearted - a thought-provoking read with a deep love of nature nestled at its core. Perfect for earth-conscious, adventure-thirsty young readers." Sophie Kirtley, author of The Wild Way Home.



Juniper and Bear are now living in Ennerdale with their father, his new partner, Willow, and their baby, Fern. The life they escaped in the city should be in the past, but neither can rest easy knowing they left their grandmother, Annie-Rose, and friend, Etienne, behind. When they learn that disease is spreading through the city, Juniper is determined to rescue them and bring them to safety.

Inside the city, there are signs that the tight control held by ruthless leader, President Steel, is weakening. But signs of rebellion by a group called the Polecats have made the authorities more aggressive. Etienne, determined to fight for freedom, soon finds himself in grave danger and in need of rescue from more than the city itself.

I am sometimes reluctant to read sequels, even though desperate to return to the world of a story which I have really enjoyed, just in case they do not live up to the original. However, I needn't have worried in this case! When the Wild Calls offers exactly the same absorbing, heartfelt, powerful read as Where the World Turns Wild and it was a joy to revisit the characters and discover what happened next.

Both Etienne and Juniper's voices tell this story in alternating chapters, allowing the reader to see events unfolding both inside the city and in the wild. Each has a clear and different voice, full of concerns about those they love, as they recount the events of their lives, one making their way back to the city, one desperate to leave it. Each shows huge strength of character and courage, fighting for what they believe in and remaining loyal to those they love.

The story is beautifully written, glowing with a love of nature and full of careful observations capturing the tiniest details as well as sweeping landscapes. Although Nicola Penfold makes it clear that the places she is writing about are her imagined interpretations, it is obvious these are locations she loves. I love the mention of the Wordsworths' graves - another marker on Juniper's journey for the reader to locate! Like Where the World Turn Wild, When the Wild Calls would make an excellent text for sharing in school, either as a class story, a guided reading text or to inspire work in English lessons. The quality of the writing, its vivid message about the importance of caring for nature and the appealing characters all make the book sure to capture the imagination. A stunning read!

288 pages / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


A completely captivating, absorbing and highly emotive dystopian adventure that grips the reader from start to finish. This was a book that I simply could not put down. When the Wild Calls is the sequel to the brilliant Where the World Turns Wild, but even to a reader new to the story of the Re-Wilders, this is a stunning and thoroughly thought provoking read.

Juniper and Bear have escaped the barren, brutal, concrete city with its armed guards, no-go Buffer Zones and absence of plant and animal life and are now safe, sheltered and reunited with their surviving parent, their father. There are new beginnings as they realise the 'Wild' is regenerating itself, but there is a sense of loss for their mother and the fears that haunt them over those they left behind - their beloved grandmother and Juniper's loyal, closest friend, Etienne.

When the Wild Calls gives the reader two powerful voices as we follow both Juniper's journey to return to the city to save those she loves, and also follow Etienne's bravery and desperation within the city walls; risking his health to trial a cure for the disease, yet beginning to understand more and more the need to challenge authority and discover just what is the truth about the 'Wild' that they claim is still a contaminated environment; anyone who holds other beliefs is to be held in an Institute with a vicious regime.

This is such a meaningful, mesmorising story - a contemporary, relevant and stirring adventure that the reader is completely invested in. There is a strong sense that the hope, loyalty, conscience and dogged determination of each character will ultimately be the driving force of their journeys back towards each other. This brings an edge-of-the-seat tension throughout - Etienne's story is emotionally wringing and so well written to balance the despair and tyranny he experiences against his inner strength and burning belief that there has to be something beyond worth fighting for.

There are dual worlds of a concrete and metal harsh hell that is poisoning its own people and a feared 'Wild' that is now being proven to sustain and nurture those who have escaped to it. Those who have done so finally realise how nature is the source to all we need and should be respected and revered. The language is rich , bold and passionate. The characters are empathy-inducing and the storyline is captivating. Superbly done.

288 pages / Reviewed by Jennifer Caddick, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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