________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 17 . . . . January 13, 2017


Wolf Island.

Ian McAllister & Nicholas Read.
Victoria, BC: Orca, March, 2017.
32 pp., hc., pdf & epub, $19.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-1264-2 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1265-9 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1266-6 (epub).

Subject Headings:
Great Bear Rainforest (B.C.)-Juvenile literature.
Temperate rain forests-British Columbia-Juvenile literature.
Temperate rain forest ecology-British Columbia-Juvenile literature.

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.

Review by Willow Moonbeam.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



By now the wolf knew every inch of the island. He knew where to dig for the biggest and juiciest clams. He knew where it was safe to go after deer and where it wasn't. And he knew the best places to sit and gaze out to sea. As summer turned to fall, he spent a lot of time looking out to sea, because he knew it wouldn't be long before the salmon would be back. And that meant the best eating of the whole year.

Wolf Island is a nonfiction book in that it is a true account of a lone male wolf that leaves his family and swims to an island on the west coast of British Columbia within the Great Bear Rainforest This is also a moving story and a great picture book, in the best sense of the term. More than a year is covered and includes information on how a sea wolf feeds and adapts to a new environment as well as information concerning the annual arrival of salmon in streams throughout the area.

      Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read have collaborated on three previous books: The Great Bear Sea, The Salmon Bears and The Sea Wolves. All take place in the Great Bear Rainforest and are intended for slightly older children. Wolf Island is their first book for younger children on the same topic, and readers can only hope that they will produce more.

      Ian McAllister has been studying the Great Bear Rainforest for more than 20 years while working to protect the wildlife and natural environment. His obvious love of the area comes through in the breathtaking photographs in this book. Some of the pictures of the wolf can easily be considered portraits and clearly express the life of the wolf. The setting is also shown clearly and distinctly shows why we should protect the area.

      We are used to thinking of children's books in terms of an illustrator. In this case, however, there is at least one photograph on each page. The frontispiece is an aerial picture of the Great Bear Rainforest while the first and last pages are luscious, orange sunsets. In between is a wide range of depictions of the wolf in his everyday activities. Did you know that wolves will dig for clams and eat fish eggs? Particularly appealing are the series of photos of the wolf fishing for salmon in the ocean surf.

      The text is charming, clear and informative, making this a nonfiction book that is as alluring as fiction. Nicholas Read has made the content completely understandable for six-year-olds without leaving out the real details important to the science. On each page, the text is closely tied to the images while giving more context for what readers are seeing and leading them to the next topic. Wolf Island is a masterful creation for young readers that will also appeal to older readers and to parents reading to their children.

      At the back of the book are two web addresses. One is for Ian McAllister's site on conservation of the Great Bear Rainforest; the other is for the books that these creators have done together. There are teacher's guides and links to several other conservation sites. Young children may not be interested in going on the internet and using the other sites, but it's still a great resource for those who can handle the extra information and certainly a way to encourage children to look further.

      Wolf Island is an absolutely gorgeous book with amazing photographs and text explaining the life of a wolf in simple and evocative language. The book will be great addition to all libraries. While the book is intended for those in the early grades, there is enough here to interest older readers, leading them to the other books by this author/photographer pair and to other nature stories and nonfiction. What more can you ask for?

Highly Recommended.

Willow Moonbeam, a librarian living in Toronto, ON, has many interests including knitting, swimming, the environment and conservation.

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

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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