High-contrast, laser-cut images accompany a simple story about the destiny of a canine whose wolflike appearance and behavior lead it from imprisonment in a pound to a better life.
“Pointed ears. Sharp teeth. A back slightly bent under dark fur. Wide eyes, always checking, always on alert. This is what I looked like. ‘Just like a wolf!’ people said.” These opening words are set in white over black negative space on a double-page spread. The rest of the illustration uses to great advantage the starkness of black on white and white on black, with its depiction of a scruffy, fierce-looking animal behind a chain-link fence. It is no wonder why people associate this beast with a wolf. The animal builds sympathy as it describes its barren, caged existence and its longing to be free and to “feel a friendly hand on my fur.” Some of the images are powerful, even disturbing, but the fact that the dog tells the tale in the past tense provides clues to readers that something better is coming. The artwork also changes accordingly, with a particularly furry, less-lupine image on a page where the dog sighs about all those people who pass it by, looking for “something cute”—not something lupine—for a pet. The pages are arrestingly beautiful, with sparse, pointed text and frame-worthy illustrations.
It’s hard not to feel for this good dog. (Picture book. 4-8)