cover image Old Wolf

Old Wolf

Avi, illus. by Brian Floca. S&S/Atheneum/Jackson, $16.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-4424-9921-8

Part survival story and part coming-of-age tale, Avi's (Catch You Later, Traitor) novel is told from the alternating points of view of two hunters: Nashoba, an aging wolf, and Casey, a 13-year-old country boy. Despite a leg injury and growing physical weakness, Nashoba is determined to find food for his pack during the "starving time" in early spring. His desperation drives him into dangerous territory, close to where humans reside. Meanwhile, a short distance away, eighth-grader Casey has just received his first archery set and looks forward to the thrill of hunting, which he has only experienced vicariously through computer games. One snowy day Casey ventures out with his bow and arrows in hopes of finding a target. Nashoba, spurred by need, and Casey, seeking adventure, unknowingly inch closer toward each other. The book's short chapters and steadily rising suspense will appeal to even the most reluctant readers. More seasoned readers will appreciate the story's different levels of meaning and subtle themes beyond the central man-versus-nature conflict. Art not seen by PW. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Author's agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman. (Aug.)