Spur, a Wolf’s Story

Greystone Kids. Sept. 2019. 32p. websites. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781771643412.
K-Gr 4–Told from the perspective a young wolf named Spur, this ecological cautionary tale reveals the threats of deforestation and culling. Spur’s pack searches for a new grove in hopes of finding caribou that have left because their food source, lichen, has been destroyed. When a “thunderfly” appears overhead, the wolves panic and scatter. Wounded by a gunshot and separated from her brother, Spur finds another pack that accepts her while she heals. As the new pack heads for the grove, the helicopter reappears, and Spur warns them to hide. Although Spur’s fear and injury might disturb some readers, she eventually reunites with her brother. Aoyagi effectively conveys the wolves’ emotions through facial expressions and postures. The helicopter’s menacing shadow and landscape of tree stumps with no hiding place create the sense of danger. Readers will recognize the “fur-less bears” on a “gravel river” as logging trucks destroying more forest. The author’s note and resource list of websites encourage readers to advocate for wolves by protesting against culling and habitat destruction.
VERDICT While Robertson effectively engages readers’ emotions through empathy for Spur, this book will fit into collections that have more straightforward factual presentations about wolves, such as Mike Scout’s Wolves Work Together.

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