________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 1. . . .September 5, 2014


The Wolf and Me. (The Seven Sequels).

Richard Scrimger.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2014.
229 pp., trade pbk., pdf & epub, $10.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0531-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0532-3 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0533-0 (epub).

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Mary Thomas.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.




No thats not rite. I have to do the last word again. I rub it out. Im working on my spelling. Mr Wing says its way better than when I came to Creekside last summer. But Im still pretty bad.


I think about what else I should rite. I only have 1 small sheet of paper and there isnt room for much. The pencil is a stub -- I hold it in my thum and 2 fingers. The room is cold and my breath makes puffy little clouds when I breath out.

Now I have to write where I am or how will they find me?


Thats the most important thing. The name on the male box. I saw it when I got here. I was feeling sick from the long drive in the dark and when the guys in the masks pulled me out of the trunk of the car I fell down on my hands and nees and started throwing up. The mask guys jumped out of the way and went Eww. When I finished throwing up I felt better. I took deep breaths and wiped away my sweat. And thats when I saw the male box at the end of the drive. It was nite and the car lites were shining on it and there was the name in brite red letters on the gray metal of the male box. NEWMAN.


Bunny is back. In fact, all seven of David McLean's grandsons are back in “The Seven Sequels”, and Grampa has been the launching pad for yet another batch of stories.

      Bunny's book, The Wolf and Me is perhaps not the best way to start off reading the series, if you want to get a coherent grasp of what it is actually going on, that is. Bunny has been given holiday leave from the institution to which he was consigned for six months after being involved in a drug bust as a result of Grampa's previous intervention into the lives of his descendents. ("We call it Creekside or Hall, but it is jail," Bunny says.) He went up to Grampa's old cottage with most of the other cousins, some of whom were old enough that his parents thought they could be trusted to look after him. The next bit is somewhat fuzzy, but the boys seem to have discovered a cache of Grampa's papers including passports, money, golf balls, and a gun, all of which suggest that Grampa may have been a spy. Or something. Bunny's not too sure; so we're not either.

      Whatever it was that they discovered, some group or other -- terrorists? nationalists? extremists? kooks? -- finds out about it, and they kidnap poor old dumb Bunny while he is skating and his brother is off buying snacks at a rink on their way back to Toronto. The kidnappers want something, obviously, but Bunny hasn't a clue what -- it sounds like an 'anthem'! Given Bunny's phonetic spelling and limited understanding (at one point he thought they were asking him about Mr Clean, when they were actually interested in 'McLean', i.e., Grampa), 'anthem' might have been something quite different. But it doesn't matter because Bunny can't help them anyway. He does get fed up with being cold, hungry, and knocked about, however, so when the opportunity arises, he runs away. Or rather skates away since he'd been playing hockey with his captors at the time, the country was in the middle of an ice storm, and he's still in the skates that he was wearing when he was kidnapped. Of course, he gets caught again, he gets away again, he gets caught again -- about five times in total. He takes all the setbacks with remarkable equanimity, even when he finds he has broken into an institution that he thinks is his, only to find that it is full of girls, but after each setback he continues to skate towards home because, if he doesn't get back on time, his "prole officer" will get into "trubble".

      I like Bunny. He's “dumb” in almost every way except the ways that really matter, such as being kind and looking after people. He bumbles along, and we get so caught up in his absurd adventures, his crazy misunderstandings, that we are compelled to read on and on.

      As I said in my review of Bunny's previous book, Ink Me: "I don't like books written so much in the child's voice that they have to be read aloud in order to make sense of the nonsense. (Like, I mean, I jest dohn, you know, like it!)" However, Bunny's prose is so bad that at least there is no way it could ever be taken for being a model of how to rite (sorry -- write!) a story. Except that the story, itself, draws you in and leads you on. and, if that isn't the mark of a good book, I don't know what is.

      What about the wolf in the title? All I'll say is that it's important and that you'll have to read the book for yourself to find out why. You probably should read one or two of the other books in the series as well, at least if you want to find out what was actually going on. Bunny doesn't have a clue!


Mary Thomas lives in Winnipeg and is retired from working in elementary school libraries. She prefers that dialect occur within quotation marks, but makes an exception for some books.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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