Subscribe to The Horn Book

Review of Wolf in the Snow

cordell_wolf-in-the-snowstar2 Wolf in the Snow
by Matthew Cordell; illus. by the author
Primary    Feiwel    48 pp.
1/17    978-1-250-07636-6    $17.99    g

A series of illustrations before the title page sets the scene: a prairie landscape in winter, home to both humans and wolves. Setting off alone toward home from school as a blizzard descends, a bundled-up child in a red hooded parka encounters a small, vulnerable, lost wolf pup. Using the howls of the wolf’s faraway pack for direction, the child carries the pup over fields and hills, across streams, and through the forest (and past intimidating forest-dwelling creatures) to deliver it to its family. When the child, exhausted, collapses in the snow on the return trip, the wolves repay the favor by staying with the small human and howling until, guided by the wolves’ cries, the child’s parents arrive. Cordell’s pen-and-ink illustrations balance detail and emotion: the wolves appear realistic, while the human faces and figures are stylized and cartoonlike. The setting is brought to life through changing sky colors, cold breaths, and extensive snowscapes in watercolors. The hand-lettered, inky text, wordless except for sound effects, supports the cinematic feel created through the use of varying perspectives and loosely demarcated panels. Suspenseful page-turns and aerial views on double-page spreads keep readers worrying about the protagonist until the very end, when the family is shown by the fireside with steamy mugs and pet dog—a cozy contrast to the fraught outdoor adventure.

From the November/December 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Elisa Gall

Elisa Gall is the Youth Collection Development Librarian at the Deerfield Public Library in Illinois.

Share

Comments

  1. Superb review of a 2017 picture book treasure!

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind

*