WOLF CHILD by Dennis Nolan


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The author-illustrator of The Castle Builder (1987) essays a longer stow set during the Ice Age, before animals were domesticated. Teo is a nine-year-old apprenticed to the tribe's toolmaker. Finding an orphaned wolf cub, he raises her despite the opposition of Ohnka, the tribe leader, who consents to her presence only on the condition that she return to the wild when she's grown. In a predictable conclusion, the wolf appears just in time to save Teo and Ohnka from a charging mammoth, thus winning acceptance. The well-crafted paintings, in a formal style that recalls N.C. Wyeth, are the best feature of this brief book; the boy and wolf are especially appealing. Other characters, in Hollywood tradition, are unrealistically clean and whole. The unexceptional story does introduce the Stone Age world, but lacks the imaginative and sensory detail that would bring it to life; moreover, the characters' responses to the cub seem anachronistic. Still, an acceptable early chapter book in attractive format.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1989
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Macmillan