Review of The Wolves of Yellowstone: A Rewilding Story

The Wolves of Yellowstone: A Rewilding Story The Wolves of Yellowstone: A Rewilding Story
by Catherine Barr; illus. by Jenni Desmond
Primary, Intermediate    Bloomsbury    48 pp.    g
4/22    978-1-5476-0798-3    $23.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5476-0799-0    $16.79

Today in the wild expanses of Yellowstone National Park, wolves roam freely. This was not the case for most of the twentieth century, as wolves there were hunted out of existence by 1926. In 1995, through the efforts of scientists (opposed by some ranchers and hunters), fourteen wolves were reintroduced, and they survived to produce today’s flourishing population. Barr splits her informative tale into two parts: first, the conservation story of how the wolves were brought from Canada, including details about wolf life cycles throughout the seasons. As the wolf population increased, the packs gradually spread out through the park and established hunting grounds in their territories. Desmond’s graceful watercolors of the animals in summer and winter landscapes give a sense of the breadth and diversity of nature in the protected spaces of the American West. In the second half, Barr illustrates the effects of the wolves’ return on the entire ecosystem (a graphic in the endpapers compactly diagrams this concept of trophic cascade). Barr includes not just the main food chains but the full range of ecological impacts: insects, grasses, trees, even the water levels and paths of rivers change in response. The final pages include profiles of the fourteen original wolves and examples of other human interventions to reintroduce species affected by human activity.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

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