The Wolf-Birds

Willow Dawson. Owlkids (PGW, dist.), $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-77147-054-4
Dawson (Avis Dolphin) investigates the interaction between hunting wolves and carrion-eating ravens—a symbiotic relationship she describes in an author’s note with the biological term “mutualism.” Set in the “wild winter wood,” the events center around the hunt for prey. The pace is fast and the consequences are, literally, a matter of life and death. In the first few pages, one of four wolves is kicked by its prey, a bison, and dies: “Three wolves must say goodbye.” Later, with help from ravens (“Two birds dip their wings and cry out”), the three bring down a deer: “one animal’s life helps many others live,” Dawson explains. Her graceful artwork borrows its forms and rhythms from Native American artwork. The creatures of the forest are heavily outlined in sinuous curves and colored with the hues of stone and soil. When the wolves corner the deer, she shows them at the moment of capture, fangs bared; it’s like a Greek frieze, a frozen moment. This is a fine resource for demonstrating how the hunt depends on cooperation both within species and between them. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/22/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
Genre: Children's
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