Parents' Guide to

The Call of the Wild

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Thrilling, violent tale of dog's survival in 1890s Alaska.

Book Jack London Animals 1903
The Call of the Wild Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 16 parent reviews

age 18+

Makes Abusing Animals Seem Normal

Terrible story about animal abuse and killing that I will never condone, no matter how much people try to pass it off as "classic". In what way is this good? It's disgusting.

This title has:

Too much violence
2 people found this helpful.
age 12+


As a teacher, I have taught this novel for several years. It's an excellent way to teach about survival, and humanity. It's also a good tool to teach about the negatives of violence, racism, and sexism, as many of these topics were viewed very differently back in the late 1800's to early 1900's. I am disappointed that Common Sense Media doesn't mention that the word ni**er is used when referring to a plant in the region, and one of John Thronton's dog's name is Nig, who happens to be a black dog. Also, calling two characters "half-breeds" is racist by today's standards. This should all be accounted for in the review.
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (16):
Kids say (61):

Jack London's muscular and poetic novel is a thrilling adventure story that explores the relationship of dogs with humans, and dogs with the natural world. As Buck increasingly heeds the instincts of his wolf ancestors, he becomes both more alive and more truly himself. However, not every dog in the story has the power to survive in the wild, and many of the humans are ill-suited for the harsh conditions they face. By exploring the brutality of an untamed environment through the eyes of a dog, London reveals much about human and animal behavior. The Call of the Wild may not be well-suited for sensitive young animal lovers, but it's a powerful story that makes readers think.

Book Details

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