CHILD OF THE WOLVES

A runaway husky pup, Granite, falls in with a wolf pack and struggles to win its acceptance in this Call of the Wild for a younger audience. Granite wouldn't have stood a chance, had not the alpha male's mate, Snowdrift, just lost her pups to human breeders. To ease her grief, Ebony lets the injured dog live, though it's a precarious existence; constantly harassed by the rest of the pack, unable to catch even field mice, Granite is completely dependent on Snowdrift's maternal instincts—at least, at first. Crediting the observations of researchers Adolph Murie and David Mech, as well as a film by Jim Brandenberg, Hall portrays her wolves (and dogs) as intelligent creatures with strong feelings, an expressive language, and a well-developed social structure. People get short shrift, appearing in only a few brief scenes and mostly to do harm; a hunter's bullet blinds Snowdrift, and it's saving her from running over a cliff that finally earns Granite the entire pack's approval. While naming them, even for the purpose of clarity, introduces a false note, the wolves are not unreasonably anthropomorphized; their behavior and ``feelings'' seem perfectly normal given the challenges of the Alaskan wild. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-395-76502-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1996

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Action and enthusiasm aplenty, but, like most time-travel tales, not much for internal logic.

CHRONAL ENGINE

A Back to the Future–style romp through time, though with more loose ends than a bowl of spaghetti.

Hardly have teen twins Kyle and Emma and their younger brother (and narrator) Max arrived for a stay at their reclusive grandfather’s Texas ranch than the old man announces that he’s about to have a massive heart attack, shows them a working time machine in the basement and sends them out to a nearby paleontological site where they find fossilized sneaker prints among the dinosaur tracks. Then a stranger grabs Emma and vanishes in a flash of light—leaving the remaining sibs and a ranch hand’s bow-wielding daughter Petra to zoom in a Volkswagen Beetle back 70 million–plus years to the rescue. Not only does the late Cretaceous landscape turn out to be well stocked with crocodilian Deinosuchus and other toothy predators, a human gent falsely (as it turns out) claiming to be a refugee from 1919 steps out of the bushes to guide the others to the evidently dino-proof frame house in which Emma is being held. Everyone steams back to the present on the kidnapper’s motor launch, which is also fitted out as a time machine. Showing blithe disregard for potential paradoxes, the author sheds enough light on his byzantine back story to ensure that the protagonists will be taking more trips through time and closes with notes on dinosaurs and on the history of “Robinsonades.”

Action and enthusiasm aplenty, but, like most time-travel tales, not much for internal logic. (recommended reading) (Science fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 20, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-60849-5

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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