OwlCrate Jr Book Club! GreenwildBy: Cheryl Long
July Book Club: Greenwild by Pari Thomson!
Escape in a stunning world of botany, nature and magic in this exciting new middle grade adventure story!
Welcome to July's book club! Read along with us this month and check back to this page every week for more fun Book Club extras - including our exclusive reading guides, Q&A with the author, book-a-like recommendations and access to our Live Chat with the author!
Daisy Thistledown has spent most of her life globe-trotting around the world with her journalist mother, chasing down important stories. After their most recent expedition the pair return to England where her mother informs Daisy that she will be temporarily going to stay at a boarding school while her mother takes on a dangerous assignment in the Amazon jungle reporting on people going missing. She gives Daisy a mysterious paperweight and tells her that if something bad where to happen, she is to get to Kew Gardens in London with the paperweight and she will find safety.
When tragedy strikes and her mother goes missing, Daisy escapes the cruelty of her new boarding school and is led, via her now glowing paperweight, through a magical door into the world of Greenwild!
Here she discovers her affinity for plants might be more than “just an affinity” and that her mother has been keeping great secrets from Daisy — they both possess great magical abilities! In this stunning world of exotic and unusual plants, natural wonders, and numerous sights of enchantment Daisy befriends a small group of young botanists (along with her loyal stowaway cat) to find her mother and discover why botanists are disappearing all over the world!
Escape into this mesmerizing, magical, botanical world with us this month! We can’t wait to talk to you all about it!!
Monthly Reading Guide:
Author Q&A with Pari Thomson:
Hello Pari! Reading Greenwild was such a fantastical ride, and we feel so lucky our readers get to experience it now that the book has finally been released. Can you tell us a little about what inspired this story?
Thank you so much! I loved writing this story, and I was inspired by a couple of things. First of all, I was sent to a boarding school when I was eleven: the same age as Daisy Thistledown, the main character in Greenwild. Just like Daisy, I hated school and dreamed about running away – and Greenwild is exactly the kind of magical place I would have wanted to run away to. So, Daisy gets to live out my childhood dreams!
Secondly, I was inspired by living near a wonderful place called Kew Gardens in west London. It’s one of the biggest botanical gardens in the world, and I’ve always thought it’s a little bit magic. It has giant glasshouses filled with bizarre and miraculous plants, from giant lily pads and hairy pink bananas to carnivorous flytraps. It has huge, fairy tale trees, and places where wildflowers appear almost overnight. I wanted to take that sense of wonder and strangeness and create a world where nature really IS magic. That place is the Greenwild!
You truly made the Greenwild jump off the page and come to life! Did you have to do a lot of botanical research for this story, or have you always had a passion for plants?
I have always loved plants, and writing this book was a wonderful excuse to find out more about them. I discovered folk tales and Persian fairy tales, and beautiful old botany books from the sixteenth century. I also read a lot about modern scientific discoveries, like the way plants can really communicate with each other under the soil.
That said, I also had a great time making up new magical plants – from bright red minim-moss that can shrink you to the height of your thumb, to giant lily-pad boats called lilypaddles, and chocolate trees that never run out of chocolate (as long as you keep watering them with milk). Then there’s the mythical whishogg – a pomegranate whose seeds can grant wishes. . .
There were so many fun characters in this book! Aside from Daisy, if you could shadow any of them for a day, who would you choose?
This is such a good question, and it’s very hard to choose! I think shadowing the Prof would be fun because she spends so much time in the library – a very good place to be! But I’d also love to spend time with Indigo because he’s always surrounded by animals and birds and horses. And I think a day with Napoleon would also be interesting. He’s a very grumpy kitten who does what he likes, and I bet he sees everything that goes on at Mallowmarsh (the main botanical garden in the book).
Which books would you say turned you into a lifelong reader? What do you think Daisy would be reading right now?
I have always loved books about ordinary people being swept into unexpected and magical adventures – like Sophie in Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, or Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. I’ve also always loved books about stepping through magical doorways, like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I have never forgotten that moment when Lucy steps through the soft fur coats in the wardrobe and into the snowy woods of Narnia. It’s pure magic.
I think Daisy would be reading an old copy of Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson. It’s a wonderful middle grade adventure story about an orphan called Maia who gets sent to stay with relatives in the Amazon. It’s full of everything a reader could wish for – brave kids, nasty villains, fierce alligators, glorious food, boat chases – and it conjures up all the real-life magic of the rainforest every time you open its pages.
Can you give us any hints about what’s coming up next in Daisy’s story?
I don’t want to give anything away. . . but I can tell you that the second book will have even bigger adventure, cooler magical plants, more danger, and lots of ocean magic. Look out for it next year!
Loved Greenwild? Check out these other amazing middle grade titles: