Updated: May 30, 2019
BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Evie and the Animals (available here)
Author: Matt Haig & Emily Gravett
Publication Date: June 2019
Most Suitable for: Years 3-6
Reviewed by: Kathryn Gilbert, Deputy Headteacher
Evie and the Animals is a delightful book with a high appeal to readers who love animals as well as fans of mystery. Matt Haig weaves a plot that explores family dynamics, the importance of friendship and listening to the feelings of others, including animals.
Evie Trench is not a normal girl. She has the 'talent' of being able to hear animals and talk to them through mind-chat. While she loves talking to all sorts of animals and helping them whenever she can, she has to do it in secret. Her dad, a hard-working but reserved man, does not want anyone knowing about her talent. He is still too traumatised by the death of Evie’s mum, who also had the talent, and wants to keep Evie safe.
As the tale develops, we learn more about Evie and the people in her life and her friendships, good and bad. We also meet the menacing Mortimer J Mortimer – the villain of the story. Mortimer also shares the talent for communicating with animals, but unlike Evie he does not use it for good. What follows is a thrilling adventure as Evie attempts to escape from Mortimer’s control and rescue both her family and all the animals he is using to gain power.
This is an enjoyable story that is able to open discussions around emotions, bereavement, conservation and animal cruelty. The illustrations by Emily Gravett are interspersed throughout and beautifully bring the various animals and their emotions to life. A winner of a book for fans of The Truth Pixie and The Boy Called Christmas series who enjoy Haig's brand of gently humorous, poignant and child-centred prose.
This book also features on our Summer 2019 Ones to Watch list.
You can download a teacher's resource pack with extracts, activities and discussion questions for KS2 teachers.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Jen at Shapes For Schools for inviting us to host the free resources.