CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 11 . . . . January 31, 2003
Song Dogs is a snapshot of life for a particular pack of coyotes on the Canadian Prairies. Following the style of Jack London's Call of the Wild, Betty Wilson has done an incredible job of uncovering the nature of the rural coyote existence. Her characters are the coyotes themselves. Although each one has been given a name, Wilson has carefully crafted their personalities to remain true to the creatures that they represent.
Understanding how an animal thinks and acts and then conveying that knowledge to others is a tricky affair. As human beings, we have a natural tendency to instill human qualities in animals. Wilson has carefully balanced this inclination so that the reader is able to identify with the plight of the coyotes and appreciate their remarkable qualities without stepping into fantasy. In this way, Wilson has paid these creatures a respect they seldom receive.
Wilson does not shield the reader from the harsh realities of life as many of these coyotes meet unpleasant fates. Yet, the reader is able to understand that this is simply the way things are for these creatures. The carefully constructed tone and language of this work are extended through a scattering of lovely penciled sketches.
This is an excellent book that would be terrific to use for class discussions.
Christina Neigel is the Instruction Librarian at the University College of the Cariboo in Kamloops, BC.
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