CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 8 . . . . December 9, 2005
Ghost Wolf is a simple story about Matt’s first trip to an overnight camp. During his two-week visit, Matt, who appears to be about 10 or 11, makes friends with some boys, is teased by one boy and slowly gains confidence and skills of independence. He surprises himself with how much he likes camp, but he cannot get over his fears of the dark and of the wolf calls at night. During the boys’ end-of-camp campout in the woods, Matt tells his bunkmates a story about his father’s saving a wolf from a leg-hold trap, an event that happened when his father was a young camper. Later that night, Matt finds himself alone in the dark woods, face to face with a white wolf, and he must overcome his two last fears in order to save himself.
This is an exciting story that boys will love. Matt’s apprehensions about summer camp are fears with which all children can identify. His need to belong to his group and his growing confidence as he feels accepted on his own terms make Matt an underdog character that the reader wants to see succeed.
The language author Karleen Bradford uses can be challenging, but it will be mostly familiar to confident seven-year-old readers and average nine-year-olds. The story is set in a place that these children know about, and so references to “mosquitoes” and “portage” should not be a mystery to a child who has gone camping. Others might need a bit of help with such vocabulary. There are full-page, black-and-white illustrations on almost every third page of this 59-page novel. These illustrations closely mirror the text by which they are placed.
Robert Groberman is a grade one teacher at David Brankin Elementary, Surrey, BC.
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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.