Picture book gold.
The Wolves of Currumpaw immediately ensnares you with it's beautiful design, fabric spine and embossed, matte cover. Look! Just look! Actually, find a real life copy, so that you can touch it. So beaut.
Pitched at 8-10 year olds, I wasn't sure how my two (4 and 6) would take to it, but they really loved it. I loved it. It was a sad and beautiful tale, with a message I really wanted them to hear. My kids are crazy about animals, and the idea of hunting and hurting such beautiful creatures was abhorrent to them. They felt it, and while it's hard to watch your kids feeling sad, I loved that the book encouraged empathy and deeper thinking. There was rich discussion afterwards. We were encouraged by fact that eventually Seton himself had a change of heart about hunting wolves, and turned his efforts towards their protection.
The story is on the longer side, and is perfect for independent readers (well fitting considering the target audience), but makes for a perfect afternoon read too. I'd avoid it like the plague at bedtime, unless your kids are a little wound up and you need something with length to get them suitably sleepy! The prose isn't especially lyrical, but it's engaging, and sweeps along at a good pace.
The design and illustrations. Wow. LOVE. I had some friends over the same afternoon the book arrived, and we couldn't stop gushing. At first glance naive, though stylistically very sophisticated on closer inspection. Where the story lacks lyric, the illustrations have it in abundance. Possibly maybe my favourite picture book illustrator since Shaun Tan.
I think this is a book for everyone, not just kids. It's a treasure that we feel very lucky to own.
Review copy provided by Walker Books.