Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Wolf-Birds

Dawson, Willow (Author/Illustrator)
Owlkids 2015. 36 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9781771470544 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, setting

Awards

TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award – Finalist – 2016
Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award – Finalist – 2016
The Forest of Reading – The Blue Spruce Award Nominee – 2017

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:

This poetic picture book conveys the perseverance required to survive in the wild for another winter—whether one is hunter or prey. A pair of ravens hunt vainly for old food caches. They try snatching rodents from tree hollows and burrows, “until they hear a familiar sound. The sound of hungry wolves!”

Bold outlines create flowing forms of birds and wolves in action. These simple, striking images depict the danger of the hunt, for every animal involved. One powerful composition uses a single spot illustration to convey the impact of buffalo hoof on wolf underbelly. (“Fwoomp!! Three wolves must say goodbye … and continue their search for food.”)

Themes of cooperation, survival and the hard facts of real animals’ lives are skillfully incorporated in this dramatic and engaging book. The stylized grace of the images relays the truths of the hunt, without ever being gory. In the end, a wounded animal is brought down: “In the wild winter wood … one animal’s life helps many others live.” Wolf pups are fed; the ravens and the pack survive to hunt another day.

An author’s note further discusses the symbiotic relationship between ravens and wolves.

  •  Discuss why some animals hunt other animals.
  •  

    The author repeats the words “in the wild winter wood” at various points. Why do authors use repetition? Write a text, imitating this style of repetition.

  •  

    In the author’s note, “mutualism” is defined as a relationship between animals “in which both living beings benefit.” Research other animals that have a mutually beneficial relationship (e.g. the hippo and the oxpecker).

  •  Discuss why some animals hunt other animals.
  •  

    As you read, identify the different parts of this forest and look up the English words (cache, tree, bush, river, etc.). Create a word map with these words.

  •  Discuss how the different characters interact in this story. What did you already know? What did you find surprising?
  •  

    In the author’s note, “mutualism” is defined as a relationship between animals “in which both living beings benefit.” Think of the mutual benefits needed to be able to eat. Create a mind map of your food chain. Include the mutual beneficiaries (growers, grocers, restaurant workers, parents, etc.).

  • To use information
  • To use information and communications technologies
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Science and Technology