This is a real adventure book, so be careful not to get too lost between its pages...

The Vasylenko family are adventurers. They all love the wet and the wild, the thrill of exploring the outside world. All that is ... except Oktober. He prefers the warm and safe comfort of the inside world, and for his adventures to take place between the pages of a book. But tomorrow, Oktober has to join his family on a trek into the slimy, grimy and climby wild, where he sees only danger and worry and fears a creature called "The Wilderness"! Failing to keep his wits about him could be dangerous though – it may even get him a bit ... lost. But perhaps getting lost is just what Oktober needs to find himself and maybe even make an unexpected friend.

The Wilderness is a wild and wondrous story of true bravery and discovering friendship in the most unexpected of places, perfect for adventurers and the more timid alike.


Steve McCarthy is an Irish designer, illustrator, and bearded gentleman. His style is bold, colourful and inspired by humour and wit. Working with a mix of practical and digital techniques, his work feels most comfortable somewhere between the yellow submarine and Dumbo's pink elephants. Steve was home-schooled and had a very free childhood, which was the inspiration behind The Wilderness. His poetry anthology with Sarah Webb, A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea was the 2017 Children’s Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Steve comes from working as a background designer, most notably for the animated feature film Song of the Sea, which was nominated for an academy award in 2015. He was also an Artist in Residence for Facebook in Dublin in 2018. He lives in south east London. Find Steve online at, and on Twitter and Instagram as @mrstevemccarthy.


The Wilderness is one of those rare books that makes you see the world in a different way […] The autumnal-coloured illustrations are sublime

Top Choice, Children's Book Highlights, Irish Independent

Everything about this book roars “epic!” […] The attention to detail is astonishing, with each of the twelve children having distinct, recognisable personalities without so much as saying a word. It’s very much a book that lends itself to being read again and again, following a different path, and character, each time.

Books Ireland

This little treasure with striking illustrations in autumnal hues is a jolly, intriguing and throughfall read which will ignite a taste for adventure in even the smallest of readers.


The autumnal-coloured illustrations are sublime.

Irish Independent, "56 cracking reads to keep kids entertained this Christmas"

There is so much detail in this wonderful book that something new will be picked up with each read.

Books of 2022, Irish Examiner


KPMG Children's Books Ireland Award
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