cover image The Land of Gray Wolf

The Land of Gray Wolf

Thomas Locker. Dial Books, $18.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0936-2

What begins as a story of Native American life opens with Running Deer lying awake, listening to a wolf howl. His tribe lives and hunts in the forests. As Running Deer grows up, white-Indian relations become the focus: settlers intrude, drive the Indians onto reservations and burn the forests for farmland. Running Deer can no longer hear the call of the wolf. The story jumps forward to end on a hopeful note: with farmland reverting to forest, the wolf, too, may come back. In his well-intentioned attempts to touch all the bases, Locker's ecological tale becomes unwieldy. Admirers of his landscapes ( Sailing with the Wind ; Where the River Begins ) will find many familiar images, but also several stiffly handled human figures--and an anatomically inaccurate raccoon. Text and art unfortunately do not reach Locker's usual standards. Ages 6-up. (May)