Monday, October 19, 2015

Book Review - Whispers of the Wolf

Whispers of the Wolf

By: Pauline Ts'o
Publisher: Wisdom Tales
Publication Date: October 2015
ISBN: 978-1937786458
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: October 20, 2015

Two Birds and his grandfather stood in the grass as they hunted “for medicine plants high above their village.” The grasses shimmered, taking on the colors of the sky and the earth beneath their feet. In the distance they could hear the voices of the other boys as they raced one another. “Two Birds,” his grandfather suggested, “go join the other boys.” A racer he wasn’t and being last was never any fun. “U-lay-lay-lay-lay-lay-lay!” The voices were beckoning, but no, Two Birds wouldn’t join them. Two Birds was a shy boy and perhaps he’d one day join them, but not now.

It wasn’t long before they heard a whimpering, a tiny voice that would change Two Birds’ life. What could that little sound be? It was a wolf pup, barely able to raise his head, who lay in the bottom of a hole. Two Birds wanted the pup and his grandfather agreed saying, “While the wolf spirit is powerful, this one may not live long.” Two Birds’ jaw was set as he leaned into the hole to take the pup. Would he live or was he just too small and sickly to make it? Two Birds would try and he took the wolf pup home and began to tend to it.

The wolf pup did not go unnoticed and Gray Bear excitedly asked to hold him. No, not yet because he wasn’t “strong enough.” A promise was made and soon Gray Bear was allowed to hold him. Other boys clustered around, anxiously awaiting their turn. Two Birds had made a friend in Gray Bear, but he made an even stronger bond and friendship with his wolf. The wolf whispered to Two Birds, a shy boy who began to slowly turn into a storyteller. Life was good, but something was changing. The wolf was being pulled by nature, but would Two Birds be strong enough to set him free?
Through the wolf Two Birds was able to learn many lessons, especially how to believe in himself. The tale is set 500 years ago, but the difficulties Two Birds was facing as a young boy will resonant with many children. The artwork beautifully captures the essence of Pueblo life and Two Birds’ tentative personality perfectly. In the back of the book are comprehensive notes discussing details of the Pueblo culture as depicted in the artwork and additional recommended books to explore.

Quill says: This is a poignant tale of Two Birds, a young Pueblo Indian who was learning the ways of the world.

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