Scruffy is an Arctic wolf who is not fully grown and does not measure up to the other wolves in the pack. Brandenburg (To the Top of the World, 1995, etc.) explains that he met Scruffy while on assignment to Ellesmere Island near the North Pole for National Geographic magazine. Fascinated by the messiest, goofiest wolf in the pack, Brandenburg begins to observe and photograph Scruffy. The technically adept, full-color photographs are engagingly expressive of the ""adolescent"" wolf's efforts to grow up. Scruffy is not coddled and is frequently beaten up by the more dominant wolves when he gets out of line. The climax comes when Scruffy finds his niche: caretaker and teacher to generations of new pups. Young readers will come away from this beautiful book with lessons about their own journeys. Scruffy's perseverance, combined with the text's conversational tone, makes the story accessible to a wide range of readers.