Wee Gillis by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson

Images and text by Carter.

You know The Story of Ferdinand, right? That gentle, genteel bull just steals my heart with each read. This book, Wee Gillis, was published two years after The Story of Ferdinand by the same author/illustrator duo. That year was 1938, 75 years ago!

One thing I love about picture books is how triumphant characters squeeze their way into our collective history, and Wee Gillis is a charmer. He’s an orphan, but from quite a legacy. A detail that tickles me every time I read it is his full name: Alastair Roderic Craigallachie Dalhousie Gowan Donnybristle Mac Mac — welcome to Scotland, right?

And that’s where his story takes place — both in the Lowlands as a farmer with his mother’s family, and in the Highlands as a hunter with his father’s. But when Wee Gillis has to decide where to call home forever, he whips up a frenzy of creative fortitude and a whole new world opens up. I don’t want to spoil it too much, but let’s just say: bagpipes. It’s brilliant, sweet, inspiring, and timeless.

Wee Gillis by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson