by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson
A Caldecott Honor Book by the creators of the beloved Story of Ferdinand
Wee Gillis lives in Scotland. He is an orphan, and he spends half of each year with his mother’s people in the lowlands, while the other half finds him in the highlands with his father’s kin. Both sides of Gillis’s family are eager for him to settle down and adopt their ways. In the lowlands, he is taught to herd cattle, learning how to call them to him in even the heaviest of evening fogs. In the rocky highlands, he stalks stags from outcrop to outcrop, holding his breath so as not to make a sound. Wee Gillis is a quick study, and he soon picks up what his elders can teach him. And yet he is unprepared when the day comes for him to decide, once and for all, whether it will be the lowlands or the highlands that he will call his home.
Robert Lawson and Munro Leaf’s classic picture book is a tribute to the powers of the imagination and a triumph of the storyteller’s and illustrator’s art.
Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson are best remembered for their 1936 classic, Story of Ferdinand, about a pacifist bull who's more interested in flowers than bullfighting. Three years later, they won a Caldecott Honor, one of the top prizes in illustrated children's literature, for a story set in Scotland, Wee Gillis. It had fallen out of print but has been resurrected as part of The New York Review Children's Collection, which brings neglected gems back to life. It doesn't show its age. With vivid pen-and-ink drawings in black and white, it's about an orphan with a tough decision to make: whether to live with his mother's relatives in the Lowlands and raise long-haired cows or his father's relatives in the Highlands and stalk stags.
— USA Today
First published in 1939, when it won a Caldecott Honor award, and now back in print with this handsome hardback edition, Wee Gillis relates how a young Scottish boy cleverly finds a middle way between two sets of shaggy, overbearing and cantankerous relations...In Robert Lawson's brilliant black-and-white illustrations, Wee Gillis keeps an amusingly bland expression even as his uncles are leaping about, fulminating and remonstrating...The solution comes (with a hilarious picture) when Wee Gillis suddenly realizes that he can use the respiratory skills he as picked up from both sides of his family...to take up Scotland's noisiest and most musical occupation.
— The Wall Street Journal
Back in print after 20 years, this winsome story details a Scottish lad's road to bagpipe-playing greatness. Ages 4-8.
— People Magazine
This book is one of a number of largely unsung gems reissued by the New York Review Children's Collection imprint...it's a charmer.
— The Globe and Mail
Lawson's marvelous pen-and-ink drawings of the Scottish relations and their contrasting environments bring the story to exuberant life.
— The Horn Book