Like a Wolf

Géraldine Elschner, illus. by Antoine Guilloppé. Minedition (IPG, dist.), $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-988-8240-44-9

Stark silhouettes make a dramatic impact in Elschner’s grim account of an urban dog whose wolflike characteristics inspire mistreatment and fear. Terse, verselike passages bring readers inside the mind of the dog who is first seen chained to a post in a desolate yard: “A high fence all around, a roof made of metal,/ a rusty dish, and now and then,/ an old bone to chew./ This is where I lived./ No one came near me./ No one dared.” A page turn reveals the wolf in profile against a white cityscape as it imagines itself bounding over fields. Accents of gray (for the dog’s fur) and pale blue (for its eyes) hint at the beauty humans seem unable to see in the animal as it ends up in a kennel. Eventually, a man with a red scarf and a tall staff sees potential in the dog: “ ‘You look like a real shepherd dog!’ he said./ It sounded like a promise.” The story’s darkest moments may upset readers with a soft spot for animals, but the closing scenes offer a sense of comfort, hope, and peace. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)