Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Lesson for the Wolf

Qitsualik, Rachel (Author)
Tinsley, Sean (Author)
Cook, Alan (Illustrator)
Inhabit Media 2015. 32 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9781772270051 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, characterization, figurative language, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

“Have you seen the Land?” Right from its opening lines, this touching tale, inspired by Inuit storytelling traditions, awakens a sense of awe. Poetic language paints vivid pictures of the Arctic’s understated beauty, echoed by animation-style illustrations, mostly earthy in tone, yet full of life and movement: “It was the Arctic: white in winter, brown in summer. There were mountains. Shining waters. No trees. But flowers lay like purple fire on the hills.”

Readers will note that Land and Sky are capitalized throughout, like proper characters, giving the story an animistic quality. Meanwhile, readers get to know the hero: a wolf who feels he doesn’t fit in and who, for a time, lives in self-imposed exile. “Wolves dream of running free. But this wolf did not want to run … Without him, the pack ran and played under a grand Sky (and if you’ve played under that same Sky, you know what a joy it is.)”

Instead of participating in hunts, the wolf spends his days admiring other animals. He loves the wolverines’ “fine, bushy tails,” finds the owl’s white feathers “lovely” and envies the “tall, curving antlers” of the caribou. Convinced he’s inferior—“I’m just a wolf”—he undergoes a magical transformation, taking on the qualities he most admires. Yet his joy is short-lived. He soon realizes these changes haven’t resolved an underlying problem and, thanks to the help of the mother wolf, ultimately undergoes a much deeper shift: that of self-acceptance.

  •  

    Discuss how it feels when someone has something you wish you had (e.g. hairstyle, clothes). Can you admire what someone has and not need to change your own? Can you be happy with how you look but still admire someone else’s look?

  •  

    On a picture walk, discuss the time and setting. Discuss the characters, emotions and activities. Make predictions about the story.

  •  

    Consider what the mother says to the wolf to help him accept himself. How does this connect to your life? Could her words guide you when you are upset?

  •  

    The Arctic is described as “white in winter, brown in summer ... But flowers lay like purple fire on the hills.” Do research on a safe site to learn more. Present your findings creatively.

  •  

    On a picture walk, discuss the time and setting. Discuss the characters, their emotions and their activities. Make predictions about the story.

  •  

    As the book is read aloud, discuss whether the pictures and text tell a similar or different story.

  •  

    Discuss how it feels when someone has something you wish you had (hairstyle, clothes). Can you admire what someone has and not need to change your own? Can you be happy with how you look but still admire someone else’s look?

  •  

    Create your own portrait in the wolf’s style, including looks you admire in others. Write a gallery description card about your best features and those you borrowed from others. Create a portrait exhibit.

  •  

    Discuss how it feels when someone has something you wish you had (e.g. hairstyle, clothes). Can you admire what someone has and not need to change your own? Can you be happy with how you look but still admire someone else’s look?

  •  

    While reading, keep track of the facts about Arctic animals woven into the story. Check them on a teacher-selected website.

  •  

    Research any Arctic animal (from the story or not). Find a creative way to quiz your peers about your animal.

  •  

    Research renowned Inuit totem artists. Draw a totem pole inspired by one of them. Include the animals from this book, adding others of your choosing.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use information and communications technologies
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Personal Development