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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > November 2019 > Hungry like the wolf

Hungry like the wolf

A young pup searches for food and family in a vivid story that asks why are we culling these threatened animals?

PICTURE BOOK

Spur: A Wolf’s Story

Eliza Robertson and Nora Aoyagi, ill. Greystone Kids, Ages 5–9

CELEBRATED NOVELIST Eliza Robertson makes her picture-book debut with the story of a young wolf named Spur, who roams the wilderness with her brother, searching for caribou to hunt. But deforestation has changed their habitat, driving the caribou away.

Early in the book, a sudden, thunderous noise frightens Spur, and a strange creature appears overhead. It’s a helicopter, and the humans inside shoot Spur in the leg. Separated from her family and forced to limp along alone, she eventually finds other wolves that take her in – but then they, too, are threatened by the dangerous creature in the sky. It will take all of Spur’s endurance to survive and reunite with her brother.

This book isn’t messing around. Robertson condemns the practice of wolf culling (within the text and in an authorial note about the subject).

Both the story and back matter are effective, and Spur is a very compelling teaching tool for children learning about our interactions with the natural world and our role as its stewards.

That said, this is also a story about a puppy who gets shot. No wolves die, but they certainly suffer. It isn’t an ideal bedtime read – unless bedtime is when you want to unpack a whole lot of feelings. Sensitive, animal-loving children may be upset by the trials that the young wolf endures.

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