Catherine Creedon, Author, James Bentley, Illustrator . HarperCollins/ Andrews Collection $15.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-06-050868-5

In her memorable debut, Creedon incorporates wolf behavior and their pack mentality to tell a haunting tale of the parallels between humans and animals. Three early events provide clues to the book's larger mystery: 14-year-old Jamie Park's mother has just died; he receives a letter from someone he's never met, signed "Aunt Louise," inviting him to join her for the summer in her cabin in the mountains; and as he runs in his school track meet, he has the uncanny feeling there are wolves at his heels. When Aunt Louise shows up for dinner, Jamie's father encourages him to leave with her for the summer. Although the woman is quite eccentric, a friendship quickly forms between the two. As Jamie begins to explore the woods and mountains surrounding Louise's home, other clues emerge: Louise has an enigmatic relationship with the wolves surrounding her cabin (she describes hunter and prey as "the basis for all contemporary dance") and he discovers a bone flute bearing arcane markings similar to the strange symbols in a letter from Jamie's father. Creedon's prose unspools with a masterly rhythm befitting a mystery as Jamie discovers his family's unusual lineage—quiet scenes of milking goats and tending chickens take on the same intriguing urgency as bump-in-the-night revelations. The author doles out formidable secrets just a little bit at a time; most readers will want to devour this absorbing tale in a single sitting. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 12/01/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 192 pages - 978-0-06-050869-2
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-5119-1
Prebound-Glued - 182 pages - 978-1-4177-2774-2
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-06-050870-8
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-33944-5
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