________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 13 . . . . February 26, 1999

cover Walk With a Wolf.

Janni Howker. Illustrated by Sarah Fox-Davies.
Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press (Distributed in Canada by the University of Toronto Press), 1998.
30 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 0-7636-0319-8.

Subject Heading:
Wolves-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten - grade 3 / Ages 5 - 8.
Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**** /4


Walk with a wolf in the cold air before sunrise.
She moves, quiet as a mist,
   between spruce trees and birches.
A silent gray shadow, she slides between boulders
and trots over blue pebbles to the edge of the lake.

She plunges through slush ice and laps the chill water,
snaps at a feather that drifts down from a goose wing,
   then splashes to shore and
     Shakes herself like a dog.

image Wolves were probably the first large animals to live with people, and all the kinds of dogs we know today are descended from them.

      Readers are invited to join an adult she-wolf in Canada's Yukon Territory at the onset of winter. Reunited with her pack and mate, the she-wolf accompanies them in a hunt where their quarry is an old bull moose. Successful in their chase, the wolves, appetites appeased, curl up in the falling snow and dream of the warmth of spring. Hawker's text has an almost poetic quality as readers are invited to walk, run, howl, hunt, charge, rest, sleep and dream with the pack. In addition to the storyline, Howker shares factual information about wolves via italicized text in a smaller font. In an initial reading of the book to a group of children, one could ignore the "hard" italicized facts and return to them later.

      While Hawker's text is most worthy, Fox-Davies' realistic watercolour and pencil illustrations, rendered largely in soft blues and grays with touches of the rose shades of early winter light, are superb. Almost like ghosts, the wolves blend into their muted backgrounds. Flowing across double-page spreads, Fox-Davies' wolves always look real and never posed. She incorporates a variety of perspectives so that the animals are seen in close-ups, at distances and from above. The hunt, perhaps appropriately, has been somewhat sanitized, and, while the text refers to the fact that "drops of his [the moose's] blood fall like berries to the ground," the snow maintains its pristine whiteness.

Highly recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, a former Wolf Cub leader, is still interested in wolves.

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

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ISSN 1201-9364