________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 10 . . . . November 11, 2016


The Wolves Return: A New Beginning for Yellowstone National Park.

Celia Godkin.
Toronto, ON: Pajama Press, March, 2017.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-77278-011-6.

Subject Headings:
Gray wolf-Reintroduction-Yellowstone National Park-Juvenile fiction.
Yellowstone National Park-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Willow Moonbeam.

**** /4

Reviewed from F&Gs.



On a moonlight night, a howl rings out across the river valley. The elk prick their ears. They have not heard this sound before, yet they are afraid.

The howl is answered by another… then another. High on a ridge, the shape of a wolf appears. More wolves join him. The pack, now silent, moves swiftly down the slope to make its first kill.

The Wolves Return is another book by the environmental writer/illustrator Celia Godkin. Her previous book, Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World, also addressed the recovery of an endangered species. Thirteen Canadian wolves were released into Yellowstone National Park in 1995 and a further ten the following year. Enough time has now passed to fully appreciate the positive effects that the re-introduction of this one species has had on the entire ecological system. This has been a triumph of environmental science and a perfect example to cover in a book for children.

      The story is written in uncomplicated language and is overwhelmingly positive in both tone and presentation. The first page describes the reaction of the animals as the wolves arrive, placing this event within the normal course of life. Then the consequences are given one at a time, including the increase of biodiversity due to the return of many plants and animals that had disappeared after the wolves were extirpated many years ago. This is not a scientific description, rather an inspiring look at the results.

      The final pages of the book give the historical and scientific background of the story. There is enough information here that older children can embrace the story while even young children interested in the topic of wolves and conservation can go further and learn more. Together with the story, the addition of this material gives a complete portrayal of the issue.

      The illustrations are beautifully rendered, moving and evocative. They increase the emotional impact of the words, showing many creatures against the natural backgrounds of the park. Pictures make the connections more clear: trees have allowed birds to nest and reproduce, water plants have given insects and frogs places to live and hide. The interdependence of species is made explicit throughout the book adding depth and scope.

      The Wolves Return is a handsome book with an uplifting environmental message, one that avoids sounding like a textbook. The book will be great addition to any personal, classroom or school library. It will appeal to anyone already interested in conservation and could appeal to many others with the reference to the highly dramatic wolves on the cover. While intended for those in the early grades, there is enough here to interest older readers.

Highly Recommended.

Willow Moonbeam, a librarian living in Toronto, ON, has many interests including the environment and conservation.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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