Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE WOLVES ARE BACK by Jean Craighead George Kirkus Star


by Jean Craighead George & illustrated by Wendell Minor

Age Range: 5 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-525-47947-5
Publisher: Dutton

Lush, naturalistic paintings and gentle, carefully chosen words celebrate the return of wolves to the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. Longtime collaborators George and Minor seem perfectly suited to tell the story of the elimination of the species there by 1926 and its successful reintroduction since 1995. Regular repetition of the title phrase (or “the wolves were gone”) adds a poetic cadence to George’s text, which emphasizes the importance of gray wolves to the web of life in the park. Minor’s watercolor-and-gouache illustrations have texture and depth, focusing closely on individual species—moose, ravens, vesper sparrows, buffalo, beaver, badger, bear and more—in the context of the spectacle of that vast wilderness. This timely, beautiful picture book appears just as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prepares to remove the Northern Rocky Mountain population of gray wolves from the list of endangered and protected species, a hopeful indicator of a wrong made right. For reading aloud or reading alone, this is a splendid way to share an appreciation for the natural world. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-12)