Beyond Words: What Wolves and Dogs Think and Feel

Roaring Brook. Apr. 2020. 176p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250144652.
Gr 4-8–This young reader’s adaptation of Safina’s 2015 title describes the communication and interactions of wolves and dogs. The first 11 chapters are an account of the author’s time studying wolves in Yellowstone National Park; Safina shares what he learned about the animals, both from his own observations and from his conversations with scientists who study wolves full time. In the remaining six chapters, the focus shifts to domesticated dogs, detailing how they evolved alongside humans and how they retain some of the same characteristics as immature wild wolves. While the chapters about domesticated dogs are somewhat less interesting, the stories of the Yellowstone wolves are extremely compelling, showing the strong personalities of individual wolves and the sophisticated way in which they interact with one another. Readers will find themselves captivated by the wolves’ storylines, choosing their favorites and rooting for individual animals. They will also absorb the wealth of scientific information that Safina sneaks into the narrative. Back matter includes a selected bibliography.
VERDICT This volume provides fascinating reading for middle grade animal lovers, especially those who love dogs.

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