Vote Now: Our Favorite Feral Children

Emily MurdochFor most of her childhood, Carey, the main character in Emily Murdoch’s new novel, If You Find Me, has lived with her mother and her sister Jenessa, in a broken-down camper in the wilderness. When their mom disappears, Carey’s dad finds the sisters and take them back to civilization. Carey and Jenessa must adjust to life in the real world, far away from the forest they’ve come to call home.

It’s got to be tough to learn to live with regular humans after a life spent in the middle of nowhere. Carey and Jenessa’s story got us thinking about some of our favorite feral children. Whether they prefer chilling by themselves or hanging out with wild animals, these characters are crazy different from their counterparts in “normal society.” Which wild child takes the top spot? Vote for your favorite below, and let us know which ones we forgot in the comments!

Jungle BookMowgli

from The Jungle Book

Mowgli’s the ultimate jungle kid. Raised by wolves, he loves making friends with all kinds of dangerous creatures. Even when Shere Kahn, the tiger famous for his love of eating humans, comes back to the forest, Mowgli’s STILL determined to stay. We also feel obligated to point out that the kid has some killer dance moves.




from Tarzan

Tarzan’s situation is pretty similar to Mowgli’s—he’s an orphan abandoned in the jungle. Instead of wolves, though, he’s adopted by gorillas. He’s strong, resourceful, and he’s totally able to keep up with his animal family. Even though he falls in love with a human, he stays true to his jungle roots.



Julie of the Wolves, Jean Craighead GeorgeMiyax/Julie

from Julie of the Wolves

When Eskimo girl Miyax (known as Julie to her friends) runs away from home, she gets lost on the Alaskan tundra. Luckily for her, she meets some wolves that accept her into their pack. We’re totally impressed by her survival skills (especially her ability to not get eaten by wild animals).



The Wild Thornberries, FleaDonnie

from The Wild Thornberries

Donnie’s the definition of a wild child. He’s totally unintelligible, he refuses to wear normal clothes, and he’s the most hyper kid we’ve ever seen. He spent the first few years of his life with orangutans, but eventually comes to live with the Thornberries. Somehow, though, they don’t seem to have much an influence on him . . .



The Music of Dolphins, Karen HesseMila

from The Music of Dolphins

After surviving a plane crash, Mila is taken in by a pod of dolphins. But when she’s captured by researchers who want to bring her into the human world, she spends all her time trying to get back to her sea-creature brethren. You know how people go swimming with dolphins at Sea World? Yeah, that’s just Mila’s life.



The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, Taylor LautnerSharkboy

from The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl

Not only is Sharkboy raised by (you guessed it) sharks, he spends so much time with them that he actually develops shark-like superpowers. He’s an awesome swimmer, has super-sensitive hearing, and can talk to fish. Also, we think is worth mentioning that he’s played by baby Taylor Lautner.



Jumanji, Robin WilliamsAlan Parrish

from Jumanji

Alan is 12 when he decides to play Jumanji. Big mistake. He ends up trapped in the jungle-themed board game for 26 YEARS. He gets pretty comfortable in the board game, but unlike some other feral children, he can’t wait to leave. And let’s be honest, wouldn’t you be itching to go if you’d been stuck in a box for three decades?



Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice SendakMax

from Where the Wild Things Are

Max is a wild child before he even meets the Wild Things. He dresses up like a wolf and terrorizes his family, so naturally he gets sent to his room. But his room transforms into a jungle, and he parties with some animals until he’s named the King of the Wild Things. Pretty successful time-out, we’d say!



Which of these feral children is your fave? Vote now! And leave us a comment to let us know which ones we left out!

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33 thoughts on “Vote Now: Our Favorite Feral Children

  1. It was very terrible to make me choose between Sharkboy and Alan Parrish from Jumanji, but in the end, Alan won! Why? Because I could relate to poor Alan from the scene in which he got beat up by the bullies. I always felt so bad for him.

    This was a great poll, by the way. Thank you for giving me internal conflict.

    • Me too! There’s just nothing to compare with his lullaby. “Just relax, lay about or my fist will put you out! Dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream.”

  2. That was a tough one! The only one I didn’t recognize was the one about the dolphins. I used to pretend to be Julie after reading Julie of the Wolves in elementary school. Where the Wild Things Are is one of my favorite books, EVER. It was a tough choice, but Max won in the end.

  3. Mowgli hands down. I loved Donnie’s wild child character and he is the epitome of a true feral, but I’d have to give it to Mowgli, “the bare necessities of life will come to you…” 🙂

  4. Oh, jeez, a quiz where I recognize all the options? Hmm. I have to go with Alan, though – Jumanji is AWESOME. 🙂

  5. Why isn’t the flock from Maximum Ride on there? They’ve been raising themselves for years! And there’s 6 (or 7, depending what book you’re on) of them! It’s almost criminal.

  6. I definitely think that Alan is the one who survived the best. With some of the other choices, the people were brought up in their world from when they were children, but then you meet Alan. He was this kid who had literally everything but friendship or love. Then you take him and drop him into this other world where he believes his only friend has been killed because of him and you come back and learn that his father pretty much died inside because he blamed himself? Now that is a burden that most people would never even think of. He is by far one of the bravest characters out there.

  7. My favorite wild-child from the options above is Mowgli from the Jungle Book.

    But outside of only the selections above, my favorite wild-child is ‘The Lost Girl’ – Lilah- from Jonathan Maberry’s Benny Imura series of YA novels that include: ‘Rot & Ruin’, ‘Dust & Decay’ and ‘Flesh & Bone’.

    ( )

    ‘The Lost Girl’, orphaned along with her sister on “First Night” – the night the dead rose and began attacking the living – was rescued and cared for by a kind man who raised the girls until he was murdered by a group of outlaws. The girls were rounded up and taken to a place called Gameland, where children were put into fighting pits to fight zombies for the profit of their captors. Lilah and her sister made an escape attempt and her sister was killed. Lilah made her escape and went into the wild where she became more feral from isolation and perfected ways of dispatching the dead and fighting the living – the evil men in the rot and ruin.

    I highly recommend the series to any readers who enjoy YA novels and the post-apocalyptic zombie scenario.

    Happy Reading

  8. Donnie from the Wild Thornberrys brings back such wonderful memories of watching the show with my kids. My husband was so frustrated with Eliza because she was always meddling and making things worse. Donnie’s back story was so sad. It didn’t really fit with the Wild Thornberrys once it came out. It made me cry.


  9. That was soo hard; Donnie, Alan Parrish, and Max! Others I liked were Sharkboy and Tarzan..but I ended up choosing Donnie. I love little kid cartoons! But Max was second 🙂

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