I loved the way this book was laid out, and I often found myself surprised by turns of events within the narrative. Told from the first-person perspective of a male wolf, this story is unlike most others you will encounter. Certain elements of the wolf’s life may be intense for sensitive readers, but those with an affinity toward animals and the natural cycle of life will find this to be an accessible, enjoyable, and emotional journey through the life of one particular wolf. Please see my full review below!
Life as a wolf is filled with trials and tribulations, but it is likewise saturated with hope and love. An unnamed wolf cub narrates the story of his life, beginning with the birth of himself and his sister, White-Ears. After being welcomed into their pack, the siblings learn the important skills they need to survive as wolves in the northern wilderness. When their parents go missing, White-Ears and the protagonist set out to reach the ocean, where they are convinced their parents will be waiting for them. As the seasons pass, the two wolves grow and their priorities shift, demonstrating both the beauty and unpredictability of nature.
Told from the first-person perspective of a wolf, this story gets deep into the thoughts, feelings, and senses of this majestic animal. As might be expected, there is limited verbal interaction among the characters except when necessary, and their songs are translated into words for the human reader to understand. The majority of the narrative focuses instead on the behavior, sensations, and observations of the primary protagonist, with particular attention being placed on smells and tastes. Through detailed and thoughtful descriptions, readers gain significant insight into what life is like for a wolf in the vast and beautiful northern wilderness.
Readers who enjoy rich stories about the lives of animals will find this tale to be both heartfelt and emotionally fulfilling. As the characters age, the details in the narrative become more intense, often incorporating death as an intrinsic element of the circle of life. Occasional strong language is also used as the wolves age, but it is rare. Though this book is accessible to middle grade readers, more mature audiences who do not shy away from the inevitabilities of the natural course of life and death are better suited to this story. Lovely imagery and emotional storytelling make this book a unique contribution to libraries for tween and teen readers.
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