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Walk with a Wolf


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This poetic picture book takes readers into the snowy Yukon Territory, where wolves roam (as they once did throughout the Northern Hemisphere). "Walk with a wolf in the cold air before sunrise./ She moves, quiet as mist,/ between spruce trees and birches." Howker's spare words capture the spartan season in which food is scarce and the landscape barren. Yet, here and there, the narrative blossoms with lovely metaphor and stings with harsh realism: the sky is alive with "a million gray ice moths"; when the pack attacks a moose, "drops of his blood fall like berries to the ground." Unobtrusive explanatory notes follow the curves of the illustrations in italics‘embellishing spacious white backgrounds with the subtlest shades of gray tints and tan washes. The effect may appear bland to some readers, but elegant to others. Author and artist offer readers a rare and intimate glimpse of a wolf's wintry world. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

K-Gr 3‘"Walk with a wolf" in this handsome pictorial nature story as she joins her family pack. Children follow along as the members of the group stalk an old, lame bull moose and sleep through a Yukon blizzard (with the female dreaming of spring and new pups). Interspersed with the simply written story (set in a large font with ample spacing) are italicized snippets of factual information on lupine behavior. Readers may also derive pleasure from using the brief index to pinpoint areas of interest. The extremely attractive watercolors are realistic and eye-catching, and the illustrator has scrupulously avoided gory depictions (though the text mentions "Drops of his berries"), leaving to readers' imaginations the grosser aspects of obtaining fresh meat. The slight anthropomorphism of lupine dreams does not detract from the visual beauty of the book, nor from its informative qualities, and it should find an audience among younger readers and listeners who enjoy exploring the natural world. Pair it with Jean Craighead George's attractive Look to the North (HarperCollins, 1997) for an excellent picture of these dramatic predators.‘Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

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