A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Chock-full of easily digested information about wolves, dogs, evolution, the hunting life of early humans, human evolution into herders and farmers, various jobs of dogs, and different breeds.
Humans and animals can help each other. Teamwork is valuable. When a tribe worked together and shared food, all benefited. Includes an appeal to readers to help present-day wolves survive.
Positive Role Models
The orphaned pup at first tries to survive by helping the pack. He then sees his opportunity to get food by trusting a human. Because the wolf trusts the boy and the boy befriends the wolf, they're able to help each other. Dogs are shown throughout history helping humans in various ways. Tribes of early humans are shown working together for the good of all.
Violence & Scariness
Graphic illustration of an auroch impaled through the mouth and rear on a cooking spit. Picture of wolf pack chasing a tribe of humans and dogs and of one human tribe chasing another tribe with spears.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that From Wolf to Woof!: The Story of Dogs by Hudson Talbott (illustrator of Newbery Honor book Show Way) is a fictional imagining of how wolves and humans first bonded and wolves developed into dogs. An orphaned wolf pup and orphan boy become friends, each helping the other secure food and, therefore, survival. Though the book opens with a fictional story, it's packed with detail about early humans and their hunting lives. Talbott takes the story further into human history as humans, with the help of dogs, develop into herder-farmers and on to the present day. There's some graphic art showing a large auroch impaled on a roasting spit and pictures of humans being chased by wolves and other humans with spears. The story format provides an easy way for young readers to think about complicated issues of evolution and development.
Is It Any Good?
This book seamlessly meshes fiction and fact in a story about an orphaned wolf pup befriending an early human boy, paving the way for wolves to develop into dogs, known as man's best friend. This rich prehistorical material has been mined similarly in a picture book by notable author-illustrator Jan Brett, titled The First Dog. Talbott's story doesn't end at that early encounter. It travels down the time line to touch on humans developing into herder-farmers, as well as the many jobs dogs did and the development of breeds. Since archeologists are still unearthing fossil evidence and reinterpreting the wolf's path to domestication. Talbott calls his story an "origin myth." He also suggests that dogs influenced human development just as we influenced theirs, that we became herder-farmers "with the help of the wolves," who guarded our herds.
The wolf pup and boy are cute and completely relatable, inviting kids into the more meaty historical material about our early ancestors and making this book a great introduction to both early human history and the evolution of wolves into dogs.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.