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The Wild Book

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  5,885 ratings  ·  1,049 reviews
From one of Mexico’s foremost authors comes a wondrous adventure story of a boy who goes to live with his kooky, book-obsessed uncle in a library where books have supernatural powers.

"We walked toward the part of the library where the air smelled as if it had been interred for years….. Finally, we got to the hallway where the wooden floor was the creakiest, and we sensed a
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 14th 2017 by Yonder: Restless Books for Young Readers (first published November 5th 2008)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,885 ratings  ·  1,049 reviews

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Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Written by one of Mexico's most prolific authors, The Wild Book is for book lovers of all ages. Juan's parents are having marital problems, and he is shipped off to spend the summer with his eccentric Uncle Tito, who lives with his three cats in a home filled with books. He is thrilled about Juan's visit because Juan has a special affinity with the books and Tito hopes he can find the illusive Wild Book. Juan falls hard for Catalina, who works in the pharmacy across the street, and he explores b ...more
I can't believe I'm throwing in the towel at slightly over the halfway point, but I just don't care - about the characters, OR the big mystery. It's a shame, as this title has one of the loveliest covers EVER, and such a great premise - a boy spending his summer with an eccentric uncle in a house full of books - but when I have to force myself to read it . . . well, life's just too short. ...more
Alex (ReadingBetweenTheNotes)
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
“People take to their beds to recover from an illness. That’s what I did, and my medicine was reading.”

This was a delightful middle grade adventure! It reads like a classic childhood favourite, with all the magic and whimsy you would expect from the likes of Roald Dahl or Lewis Carroll. Uncle Tito actually reminded me a little of Uncle Monty from The Reptile Room, though Tito is slightly more of a caricature.

The Wild Book is a book lover’s dream. I flagged so many quotes that just capture the wa
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: translation, fiction
the past couple of years have seen several books by prolific mexican author juan villoro translated into english: the guilty , a collection of stories; god is round , a non-fiction work about soccer; and the reef , a 2012 novel. the newest to arrive from its original spanish is the wild book (el libro salvaje), an entertaining, gratifying tale for young adults (or, is it middle readers?). sure to enchant emerging reader or seasoned book lover alike, villoro's story is one of adventure, ...more
I adored this!

A boy is sent to his eccentric uncle's house for the summer. This house is a labyrinth of libraries that have taken on a life of their own. This is full of heart and whimsy!

I listened to the audio version, which was wonderful. This book is translated from Spanish - I hope to find more translated works by this author. I can see why he is a beloved children's author 🖤


GR Personal Rating System:
★★★★★ 5 Stars ~ LOVED
★★★★☆ 4 Stars ~ ENJOYED
★★★☆☆ 3 Stars ~ LIKED
★★☆☆☆ 2 Stars ~ MEH
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a brilliant, thought provoking middle grade adventure, very original and unlike anything I have read before. A book about books that had minds of their own, controlled your ability to read them and they determined whether you were worth being their reader. An interesting story I thoroughly enjoyed that’s told through the lens of a 13 year old boy who is to stay with his bibliophile Uncle and finds his holiday is no longer normal - in a house surrounded by books, Juan soon realises that b ...more
What if books have a mind of their own? What if they reveal themselves to you instead of you seek them out? What if they hide from you if they think you're unworthy to read them? These are the ideas behind this terrific tale for all book lovers out there. The Wild Book is surprisingly original and, for a middle-grade book, manages to be emotionally profound and thought provoking. ...more
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Juan's parents are separating, his father will be in Paris "designing" a big bridge, his mother will remain in their home for the time being, his sister Carmen will be staying with the Bermudez family, and Juan will spend the summer with his Uncle Tito - who lives "alone with his cats and books".

The books in Uncle Tito's house have lives of their own, moving throughout the house whenever and wherever they want. The ONE book that has never been read, is the White Spined book that has managed to
Jul 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Happiness! Pure enjoyment! I have just finished the book and feel happy; happy to have found it, happy to have read it, happy because I can always read it again!
It is a book about the love of books, about adolescence, about the love of life, of being alive, of the love and importance of company, of friends and of fairy tales, of cooking, about the magic which lies in all of this It is a book about what books can do, what they can be: dangerous, consoling, adventurous, inspiring, sickening, heali
Emily Polson
A beautiful, magical little book that takes a meta view of the relationship between books and their readers. Sentence by sentence, it flips ideas on their head in a satisfyingly fresh way. It reminds me of all the fantastical elements I adore in books like Howl's Moving Castle and The Girl Who Drank the Moon. I'd love to read this again alongside a friend.

The part that drew me out of the story was the treatment of the main female character, Catalina, who's awesome but gets the short end from ou
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
I'm a hopeless sucker for children's books but this one, this reminder of why stories are important and books are magical, is especially impossible to not love. Every kid I know is getting a copy of this. ...more
Tyler Jones
I remember as a child lying on the floor of the small room we called the library at home, staring at the books I was too young to read and feeling sure they contained great secrets and wonders. Even then I felt there was a power in those objects that even those who wrote them may not have known about, and I was sure that someday they would reveal their secrets to me!

The Wild Book captures this feeling. The story on the surface of the pond of the book might be too slow for some (not me); the sto
Mar 09, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2022, 2022
SO GOOD. This is exactly the type of book I would have obsessed over as a kid. The Uncle was hilarious and his quirky personality was so well-done, and I loved everything with the library.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A splendid book full of metaphors and advice. Often books full of ideas can get lost in their own self-importance, but this one manages to have extremely likable characters and be funny as well. I especially loved the notion of how books can move on their own and seek a reader out. There are many such books (Love in the Time of Cholera, Lila, or Uncle Tungsten) that have come to me at just the time in my life that I needed them. ...more
I really got into this at the beginning I was thinking it would be a 4-5 star but was sadly mistaken. The writing was very repetitive. The same line kept getting used over and over again and because it is a small book I couldn't look past the repetition.

Secondly there was insta love. The main character was head over heels for this girl the moment he saw her. He made comments every time he laid eyes on her. This became old very quickly.

Then lastly, the end was super anti-climatic. I was
I feel a little guilty giving this one only two stars because it seems to be a high rated book, but really, for me it was just ok. Reading the summary made me think I would love it. Living in a house where there are so many rooms and books that you get lost sounds like the perfect dream for me. Having the main character discover that he has a gift when it comes to reading and finding out that he brings something special to each story he reads is a great message to give to kids. But the story nev ...more
Lel Budge
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anne-cater
And that’s how my time in the labyrinth of books began “

Juan is sent to stay with his Uncle Tito after his parents separate and his mum needs a little time on her own. Uncle Tito’s house is quite literally full of books, from floor to ceiling…”a library is a collection of souls”

Uncle Tito is an eccentric with an absolute passion for books and reading…..but he is searching for one elusive book and he feels Juan will be able to find it as he is super special. With Juan in the house he is no longer
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was lovely, especially if you're the kind of book nerd who's always been a book nerd; it's mostly about how great books are, how they transport you and bridge the generation gap and give you what you need before you know what that is. The depictions of Juan's relationships with his family are wonderful, especially his little sister (who deserves her own book tbh).

I think at times the translation was a little clunky, but only a little, and it did quite abruptly, but not unsatisfactorily; jus
Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader

This was such a lovely read, I was so happy to get a chance to read this, it was a wave of nostalgia for me. I had not read this before but for me, it was reminiscent of The Magician’s Nephew; in the way that it was a boy discovering more than he thought possible and for the simple fact that it felt like I was discovering magic all over again as I had as a child while reading.

MG fiction can be a great way for authors to give children messages about the rea
Suzanne Maley
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a strange book to begin but once I got into the story I couldn’t put down. It can be read at different levels. I usually try to read children’s books from a child’s perspective but this book spoke to me from an adult perspective. This is interesting to me because this story is about how books change readers and how readers change books. The story comes full circle with a satisfying ending.
Between The Pages (Gemma M)
This is a must have/read for bookworms. You will love it, I promise. Something different and adventurous but brilliant. This is actually going in my top ten of the year and has to be one of my new all time favourite reads. The cover is beautiful too. One I won’t forget.
I fell in love with this story and the characters. There are so many beautiful quotes in this book I lost count. Can easily be devoured in one sitting. Beautiful. I also want Uncle Titos house aka library. Brilliantly written and
Isa (Pages Full of Stars)
This was so much fun! It's a perfect story for all the book lovers and those who enjoy books about books :)

The story is fun and engaging, the setting is absolutely amazing (the main character's uncle is a huge book collector and so his house is so full of books, it's even possible to get lost among all of them! :D) and the characters are well written too. It's a great adventure book for kids and just everyone who enjoys a good story, full of humour and book love :)
It should be said that Translations are tricky. Most times, they are not that great, they miss the point and style the author tries to convey. While I've read a few, this one, I believe, expresses the author's intentions excellently because I loved this novel despite being geared towards a younger audience. The illustrations are also so insanely beautiful, the different ways in which the books come to life and illustrate the stories hidden inside of them. It's awesome.

The entire adventure is gre
Ethan Marstella
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful. Already a best seller in Mexico, this new English translation is sure to be a hit here as well. A book to inspire a new generation of readers, along the lines of the Pagemaster, but in my opinion, even more enjoyable.
Elaine Tolbert
I finally finished it!
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Chosen by my toddler (from the children's section of the library) and read aloud to my 6-year-old. This was a very interesting biblio-fantasy. I loved the imagery of Uncle Tito's house. So much of it was left to the imagination: it was hard to tell if it was truly enormous or if it just seemed that way to the children. Either way, it had a lot of character. As in, literally: the library and especially its books were very much another character (or two) in the story.

I liked the story and characte
Jennifer S
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
13 year old Juan is sent to spend the summer with his eccentric uncle, who lives in a house filled with books and has only limited social skills. Uncle Tito's library is full of books that choose their readers, stories that change depending on who is reading them, and an elusive "wild book" that Juan is enlisted to help find. Engaging characters and a fair amount of imagination, but I thought the ending was abrupt and weak. ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a middle grade chapter book that I read in participation in World Kid Lit Month, September 2018. It was recommended by a friend who said that it was a favorite in her family. I can see why.

This is the story of a young boy, Juan, who is left with his eccentric uncle for the summer because his mother and father are going through a separation. He's a little unsure of staying there and wishes he was going to the family of one of his buddies instead of to this strange uncle's house. But it tu
Dulce Grajeda
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book!!! This is not only for teens or children, read it and if you have kids read it loud with them, it is well written and the story is absolutely fantastic. Thanks Juan Villoro
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Early this week at bedtime, my five-year-old daughter started crying because she doesn't want to die. We're not a religious family; I don't have recourse to some of the comforts that parents who believe in the afterlife can offer. Ultimately, however, my daughter took great solace in the thought that Laura Ingalls Wilder lives on through the Little House on the Prairie Books, and she eagerly enjoined me to write the stories of our family so that we could live on forever in the pages of a book. I ...more
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Colosseum. Sfide ...: GDL Agosto: Il libro selvaggio di Juan Villoro 13 11 Sep 02, 2021 03:44AM  

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Juan Villoro is Mexico's preeminent novelist. Born in Mexico City in 1956, he is the author of half a dozen prize-winning novels and is also a journalist. In 2004, he received the Herralde Prizefor his novel El testigo (The Witness). ...more

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