Reading is probably one of the best things to do in the world. It teaches us language, helps with spelling and learning new words, explores different worlds and cultures, and has lots of other benefits including enjoyment, entertainment and escapism. We love to read in our house, and we have books everywhere, whilst some of the household love it more than others somebody generally has a book in their hands.
When a new book arrives it a cause for great excitement (especially during this period of lockdown), and Maverick Books, the children’s book publisher, kindly sent us The Stolen Spear by Saviour Pirotta, the first book in The Wolfsong Series.
The Stolen Spear is set in around 2500BC in the Late Neolithic period (around the end of the Stone Age and the beginning of the Bronze Age). It is set on a group of islands we now call The Orkneys in Scotland.
Wolf lives in a small village (now known as Skara Brae) on Great Island (now known as Mainland). Bravery is admired in the village, but any form of weakness is frowned upon and Wolf isn’t the bravest, so he doesn’t fit in very well. So when a sacred spear is stolen from the burial mound in the village Wolf is blamed as he brought a stranger into the village. To regain the respect of his family and the villagers he makes a vow to travel to a distant land, Seal Island, and retrieve the stolen spear. The trouble is, he is not very brave or strong and he has never left the village before. Will he be able to sail the sea? Will he get there in one piece? And will he be able to retrieve the spear and return home?
Overall, The Stolen Spear is a good story of courage, discovery, self-belief, kindness, family and friendship. Wolf sees himself shipwrecked, kidnapped, forced into slave labour and finding new friends so there is plenty of adventure for younger readers.
The characters are strong and likeable, ones that boys and girls can relate to. They deal with issues such as isolation, self-esteem and friendships.
Whilst it is a work of fiction, the historical aspects of the books are faithful to Stone Age life, customs and culture. The back of the book also has some excellent discussion points which are great for parents and teachers to get involved with the kids to discuss the Neolithic period along with concepts such as courage, different cultures, different viewpoints etc as well as comprehension.
It is not a long book to read at around 140 pages, it is broken up into easy to read chapters. It has also been broken up with some great illustrations by Davide Ortu that do an excellent job of conveying the story.
The Stolen Spear is a very good adventure story aimed at children 8 years and older, it is not too long or short and has enough tension and intrigue to keep children’s interest.
RRP: £6.99 (Paperback)