cover image Wolf Watch

Wolf Watch

Kay Winters. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80218-8

There are no big, bad wolves in Winters's (Did You See What I Saw?) verse story; instead, she shows a litter of four wolf pups growing up in their natural environment. Most of the unrhyming, four-line stanzas begin with locations--""down in the den,"" ""in the tall pine,"" ""high on the hill,""--which readers come to know as the respective locales of the pups and their mother, the menacing eagle (who eyes the infants almost as intently as their parents do) and the wolf pack. The daily life of this new wolf family unfolds with evocative simplicity: ""Off to the forest,/ Father Wolf sniffs./ Wolves weave like shadows,/ Stalking a deer."" Regan's (Welcome to the Greenhouse) precise, naturalistic oil paintings make dramatic scenery of the harsh, rocky terrain that is the wolves' home. High-contrast lighting turns rock faces into jagged, faceted shapes by day, while by moonlight, the smooth orbs of rocks in a riverbed take on an eerie glow. Thus, her palette of soft greyish browns never grows monotonous. Together author and artist successfully draw the reader into the world of the pups, transforming a landscape, at first strange and wild, into one both familiar and intimate. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)