Paul Stewart, author of the Edge Chronicles, teams up with illustrator Tim Vyner to create a short and vivid picture book about a wolf cub’s coming of age. The animal is first depicted huddling in the warmth of the den but unable to sleep as an uneasy curiosity about the perils of the night possesses it. It is taken out by its father to explore the darkness and, after a long and courage-building foray, to gather with other wolves and add its voice to their song. It’s a very simple story, told as an incantatory dialogue on facing pages between the two animals as the older strives to reassure the younger. Although obviously anthropomorphosised in an Iron John kind of way, the story does seem to reflect the phase in the life of the cub when, at about two months, it is taken from the family den to a rendezvous site where it is gradually socialised into hunting life.
The text is very brief, and most of the book is taken up with Vyner’s spectral panoramas of moonlight flooded mountains and forests. This is a visually striking book which appears at a time when there is increasing interest in the relationships between wolves and people, partly due to the possibility of wolves rejoining us for the last few days of our membership of the British Fauna Club. It should appeal to dog-lovers and budding lycanthropists alike.