Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell illustrated by Gelrev Ongbico

Feo shook her head: she couldn't speak.  The moments in which the world turns suddenly kind 
can feel like a punctured lung.  She stood in the marble hall and cried ...

We can take our fear back.  And I don't know if we'll win but we have the right to try.  
The adults, they want us to be quiet and careful, 
but we have a right to fight for the world we want to live in, 
and nobody has the right to tell use to be safe and sensible. I say, today, we fight!

The Wolf Wilder is one of those absolutely delicious books that is a true a feast for the reader.  This is also one of those books that I read late into the night, picked up over breakfast and raced home to finish.  This is a ten out of ten book.  You should rush out and grab a copy today.

This is the third book I have read by Katherine Rundell and I am now a confirmed fan of her work. Her writing gives a strong sense of place and you will fall in love with her central characters especially Feo or Feodora in this book.

Wolf Wilder is set in Russia.  A cruel General called Rakov is the commander of the Tsar's Imperial Army. He set to claim money for an elk owned by the Tsar and recently killed by wolves.

At this time in Russia wolves are taken as pets for the aristocrats.

"The captured wolves wear golden chains and are taught to sit still while people around them laugh and drink ... But a wolf cannot be tamed in the way a dog can be tamed, and it cannot be kept indoors."

Fedora and her mother are wilders.  It is their job to take rejected wolves, 'untame' them, teach them to survive in the wild. Feo has spent her whole life surrounded by wolves living with her mother in a remote cottage. Rakov arrives and he destroys everything.  Marina is taken to a prison in St Petersburg.  Feo is now on the run with three of her special wolves and a wolf pup.  It is cold and dangerous but she does enlist some loyal companions and you can be sure good will triumph over evil.

"We don't give them human names ... Wolves have their own names. They don't need ours.  So we call them by a colour, or description - like Tenderfoot."

The illustrations are a special feature of this book.  You can read more about their creation here.  You can hear Katherine Rundell reading from the beginning of her book.  You should also read this interview with Katherine about the inspiration for this book.  Here is the Kirkus review.

Here are some of the other covers.  Which one do you like?

I also love these descriptions of cold  :

"There were, in Feo's experience, five kids of cold.  There was wind cold, which Feo barely felt. ...There was snow cold, which plucked at your arms and chapped your lips ... it was Feo's favourite weather and good for making snow wolves. There was ice cold, which might take the skin off your palm ... Then there was hard cold. ... Hard cold could be cruel ... And there was blind cold. Blind cold smelt of metal and granite.  It took all the senses out of your brain ... "

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