Running Wild, Paperback Book
5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The epic and heart-rending jungle adventure from the nation's favourite storyteller, now available in paperback. For Will and his mother, going to Indonesia isn't just a holiday.

It's an escape, a new start, a chance to put things behind them - things like the death of Will's father. And to begin with, it seems to be just what they both needed.

But then Oona, the elephant Will is riding on the beach, begins acting strangely, shying away from the sea. And that's when the tsunami comes crashing in, and Oona begins to run.

Except that when the tsunami is gone, Oona just keeps on running. With nothing on his back but a shirt and nothing to sustain him but a bottle of water, Will must learn to survive deep in the jungle.

Luckily, though, he's not completely alone... He's got Oona.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Adventure
  • ISBN: 9780007267026

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Will has lost his father to the Gulf War. His grandparents have treated Will and his mother a holiday in Indonesia as part of the healing practice. Will is riding Oona the elephant along the beach when the unthinkable happens. Oona takes off running for the hills and Will must hold on for dear life. It is only later when he is able to see behind him that he views the devastating tsunami that has claimed around 350,000 lives, one of them his mother's. Oona keeps on running and they end up deep within the jungle before she will stop. Will must learn to survive with Oona in this unfamilar place with nothing but the shirt on his back. As the bond develops between Will and Oona he starts to come to terms with his loss. A sensitively told tale of survival, loss and adventure. Morpurgo incorporates import events and issues in a way that children can empathise with and understand. An excellent book which is a great read for adults and children alike. Highly recommended.

Review by

Brilliant, educational and a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I read this book to my 8 year old boy and 6 year old girl as a bed time story over the course of a couple of weeks. Some of the chapters were too long for us to read in single sessions, but there were convenient places to stop in the long chapters. There is a lot of the harshness of the world in the story, especially to do with death, loss, cruelty and environmental destruction through resource over-exploitation. The harshness in the story is balanced by descriptions of some of natures wonders, human kindness, friendship and family. The story is ignited because of war and takes a major turn as a result of a natural disaster. Thankfully the story also has some humour and a happy ending (not that all stories need a happy ending). The story perfectly introduces the William Blake poem - The Tiger. It is a great story for helping (especially children) to think about nature and wilderness and its place in the world and how care is needed to preserve these things or else they are likely to be lost if systems of greed run their course unchecked.

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