The Way Home for Wolf
Illustrated by: Jim Field
Published by: Orchard Books, The Watts Publishing Group October 2018
Ages: 3 – 7 years
Theme: Friendship, Bravery
Opening Lines: As a rainbow of lights flickered soft in the night,
Dusting diamonds of ice in a desert of white,
The wild, whipping wind, it whistled its tune
To a howling of wolves and a shimmering moon.
Synopsis: Wolf cub Wilf doesn’’t want help from ANYONE Whatever it is, he can do it ALL BY HIMSELF. But when he finds himself lost and alone I the chill of the Arctic night Wilf discovers that sometimes we all need the helping hand of a friend.
Why I like this: I absolutely love this book. The deceptive cover illustration of a cute wolf club trudging through thick snow belies the rich deep full page spreads within. When chatting with a critique buddy of mine yesterday about this book we agreed that an older age group would appreciate the illustrations more than the 1 – 5 age that is listed on Amazon as a couple of the illustrations may appear a little frightening. I think 3 or even 4 years and up is better suited to this. The evocative storytelling in beautiful rollicking rhyme as shown above gives that sense of hope for the lost little wolf cub as we follow him finding his way home. This book would make a great mentor text in many ways from the use of language, rhyming text to not only ground us in the little wolf cubs world but also lead us from page to page following him on his journey with just the right page turns. But also the way the text leaves out what only the illustrations will and can only show. An example is…. One night it was time for the wolves to move on…New folks had moved in and their shelter was gone! So they left right away, to find a new cave. They would have to walk far and they’d have to be brave. The illustration for this showed an angry bear curled up in what was the wolves cave. We see the pack of wolves trudging off to look for a new cave in the dark of the cold night, led by the little wolf cub and a couple of the straggler wolves glaring back at the bear. What I also loved about the illustrations was in a couple of spreads the night light actually showed the animals that the little wolf cub would meet up with when he became separated from the pack. In a couple of others it appeared as though we were looking through glass windows. And I also loved how the illustrator rounded the story off with full page spread of rich deep colours of the night similar to the opening pages. A must read if only to enjoy the rhyming text or pour over the amazing illustrations.
It is no surprise to find that Rachel Bright and Jim Field have paired up before in…
The Lion Inside published in 2015 and which has sold over 130,000 copies in the UK alone,
And… The Koala Who Could published in 2017 again with the same evocative illustrations.
And… The Squirrels Who Squabbled also published in 2017.
All books with a theme of friendship, bravery and compassion.
Some thoughts/questions for kids…
From the cover of the book where do you think the little wolf cub is?
Is it cold or hot and why?
Is it day or night and why?
Name the animals the little wolf cub comes across when he is lost and write a sentence or paragraph about what you know about each of these animals.
What is the little wolf cub’s name? If you wrote the story what name would you give him and why?
When the little wolf cub arrived safely home what do you think he learned from his adventure?
How did the little wolf cub get lost? What could he have done to prevent getting lost?
How to draw a cute wolf… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h_vBkTp_Fs
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