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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

From WOLF to WOOF! The Story of Dogs. Written and illustrated by Hudson Talbott. Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin. $21.99 ages 6 and up

"The boy picked up the
bone and tossed it back.
Again, the wolf pup caught
it and dropped it nearer the
boy. Over and over, the boy
threw it back, each time
moving a little closer. Soon
they were close enough to

In his "myth of origin", Hudson Talbott shows his audience how the enduring friendship between humans and dogs may have developed. He begins with wolves, roaming the land in packs and finding the food needed to stay healthy and strong. In one such pack, a small orphaned cub is shunned by the leader. Determined to be useful, he sets to watching for "enemies".

He is a keen scout during the day, but the night sky offers some concern for a lonely young wolf cub. His howls break the night's silence. An orphan boy, scavenging for his own food, wants the howling to stop interfering with his hunting. He throws the cub a bone. Perfect! The bone lasts for days. Soon, the  cub is hungry again; the boy hears, throws another bone and the two are satisfied.

This goes on, until the cub is familiar enough with the routine to get ever closer. It is the beginning of a lasting friendship and mutual assistance. Other 'misfits' join them, allowing for successful hunts:

"The secret was in the teamwork.
Wolves surrounded the prey
so hunters could spear it from
a distance.
Everyone worked together
and shared the food.
No one was left out."

You know the ending. Today, dogs have evolved to share the lives of their humans, bringing joy and so much more. Kids who like some facts with their stories are going to love this book -  just imagine how much more, if they also have their own perfect pal sharing their lives.

Hudson Talbott does spot-on artwork, using watercolors, colored pencils and ink, to bring this story to glorious life for everyone who has ever owned, dreams of owning, or is in the process of convincing a parent that a dog is a must for every family. He draws the reader in with the facts, steals hearts with the story and reminds us that wolves are still here and in need of protection if they are to survive in the world today.

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