Book of the Week: Wee Gillis

June 24, 2013

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

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole Devereux June 24, 2013 at 7:08 am

Thanks for introducing me to this book. My husband’s family is originally from Scotland and this looks like one we’ll all enjoy!

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2 Sara June 24, 2013 at 8:10 am

Our last name is Gillis, and we received this book as a gift when our son was born. We used it for a guestbook for his first birthday party, and we plan to continue to do so throughout his childhood! Such a great book with special significance for our family :)

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3 Carter Higgins June 24, 2013 at 1:50 pm

That is a FANTASTIC idea!

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4 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag June 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Oh FUN! I’m such a Munro Leaf fan, and I’ve never read this one! Off to the library I go…don’t you adore the manners books he did? Those books are basically how I taught my kiddo etiquette and manners…she certainly didn’t learn any from me, ha ha ha :)

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5 Carter Higgins June 24, 2013 at 7:40 pm

I love those!!

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6 Jenny June 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Carter, I think we are kindred book spirits–most of the books you have featured are loves of mine : )

Wee Gillis is one of my all time favorites. The illustrations are charming, and the text is so delightful. I am so glad you shared it here so more people have the opportunity to fall in love with it (as I’m sure they will)!

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7 Carter Higgins June 24, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Yay, hooray, kindred book spirits!! I love that!

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