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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Will & Nill
by Farhad Hasanzadeh
Age Range: Under_5
This is a colourful and amusing tale of two street cats called Will and Nill by Farhad Hasanzadeh as they consider how to best serve their two primary needs – finding food and sleeping! The illustrations in the story perfectly depict the lazy and dusky haze of a blisteringly hot day and capture the dream-like state that the cats feel if they give in to napping in the stifling sun. Nill decides to give in to the heat of the day from the very first page. Will, however, believes that the best way to distract himself from the hunger and rumbles of his tummy is to play games – and soon ends up playing an unexpected game of hide and seek with a local sparrow! In a lovely twist in the tale, Will’s kindness towards the sparrow soon leads him to some tasty food and a contented sleep – whilst poor Nill’s stomach rumbles still. Told with wit and affection, the story portrays some simple truths whilst also probing the deeper questions – such as whether it is best to accept your days without question or take a different approach to change the course of your fate.
Will & Nill is a great book to look at the characteristics of cats, as well as qualities of human nature. Children will be drawn to the bold and vibrant illustrations by Atieh Markazi and will be amused at the wry and subtle humour of this friendship between two cats. There is an opportunity for extending the learning through analysis of language (“I’m so hungry I could…”) as well as by looking at the deeper themes which are embedded within this tale – of friendship; persistence and how simply having fun can lead us to unexpected and joyful places.
Laura Davies (2016)