THE WOLF GIRLS by Jane Yolen

THE WOLF GIRLS

An Unsolved Mystery from History
by , , illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 13

KIRKUS REVIEW

In the early 1920s, newspapers throughout the world reported on two orphaned girls in a village in India who, it was alleged, had been raised by wolves. The journal of the missionary who claimed to have found them provided the “eyewitness” account, although it was written after the fact. How likely is his story? Historians have several clues and theories, but no answers. In the same format as Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History (not reviewed), Yolen and Stemple present this “unsolved mystery” as the research of a detective’s daughter going through her father’s files. On each spread, the main narrative (in a framed buff-colored box) is accompanied by glossary terms (on “post-it” sized boxes) and notes from Singh’s journal or historical notes (on lined notebook paper). Each of these items “floats” over Roth’s double-page, realistic illustrations—in muted watercolor-and-pencil tones—of a scene from the narrative. The “sleuthing” effect works generally well, although it’s occasionally sloppy: one “note” explains something from a previous page; a glossary term appears visually before its place in the narrative; some glossary terms seem unnecessary (orphanage, gossip, villagers), or their explanations curious (“tribe: A group of people who often wander from one bit of wasteland to another”). The authors close the narrative with a summary of existing theories about “what really happened,” posing questions about the clues. The intent is to help readers decide for themselves, although the questions posed are biased towards particular explanations. But it is accessible and fascinating, and fans of unsolved mysteries will enjoy turning back and forth through the pages of this one. (bibliography) (Fiction. 8-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-81080-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2001




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