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EYE OF THE WOLF by Daniel Pennac

EYE OF THE WOLF

By Daniel Pennac (Author) , Sarah Adams (Translator) , Max Grafe (Illustrator)

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7636-1896-9
Publisher: Candlewick

A slight French import goes heavy on symbolism but light on story. A one-eyed wolf paces his cage day after day, ignoring everything outside of it, until he finds himself in a stare-off with a boy. In the way of magical realism, the two characters trade life stories, each by looking the other in the eye. Africa, the boy, sees Blue Wolf as he grows up in Alaska, living fairly idyllically with his brothers and sister until his capture and subsequent imprisonment in a series of zoos. Then Blue Wolf stares Africa in the eye, seeing the orphan grow up, first in Yellow Africa, then Gray Africa, then Green Africa, and finally the Other World, where they meet. Africa himself is a fey child, a storyteller who can make friends out of sworn enemies and whose mystical rapport with animals makes him a healer of sorts. It is his gaze that heals the wolf in the end, bringing together Alaska and all the Africas at once. While each character’s individual story is developed fairly well and the tone effectively infuses the story with a touch of the fantastic, ultimately there seems to be little substance to the whole, beyond a general sense of environmental we-are-all-one-ness. This is mystery writer Pennac’s (Passion Fruit, 2001, etc.) first book for children to be published in the US; while he shows a sure sense of mood and tone, the lack of actual narrative is likely to leave audiences wondering: what’s the point? (Fiction. 10-13)