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Wolf in the Snow
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Matthew Cordell's Wolf in the Snow, which won the 2018 Caldecott Medal, is a nearly wordless tale of a little girl who sets off for home after school and finds a lost wolf pup separated from its pack. The girl carries the pup through a snowstorm to catch up to the pack and return the pup to its mother, and gets lost herself in the process. The girl's kindness is repaid by the wolf pack, which helps reunite the girl and her mother. The story is both gentle and brave, showing kindness, compassion, and respect for the natural world.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A girl in a red hooded jacket starts walking home from school as it starts to snow, hears a wolf pack, and notices a WOLF IN THE SNOW, a pup who's fallen behind and gotten lost. She picks it up and trudges through the snowstorm to bring it to the pack. Eventually pup and mother are reunited, but by then the girl is lost and so exhausted she collapses into a ball. The wolves surround her and howl to alert the girl's dog and parents, who've been tracking her. So she, too, is rescued and reunited with her mom. The last scene shows the girl and her family back home, warm and safe.
Is it any good?
This nearly wordless book creates a captivating landscape of peril and compassion starring a kind, brave little girl undaunted by nature and the animal world. Author-illustrator Matthew Cordell's pen-and-ink with watercolor illustrations in Wolf in the Snow draw you in and make you care about the characters, showing the changing emotions on the girl's face, sometimes with only her eyes showing between her jacket hood and the scarf around her neck. The only words are wolf sounds: the whine of the pup and the growls and howls of wolves in the pack.
Very young readers will easily understand the danger and the relief as both human and animal are lost and separated from their mothers and then reunited with them, thanks to another's kindness.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the little girl rescues the wolf pup in Wolf in the Snow. Have you ever rescued an animal or bird that was lost or hurt? What happened in the end?
How does the author-artist show in the art that it's cold and stormy? Try drawing a snowstorm yourself.
What do you think of telling a story without words? Try telling a story just in pictures.
- Author: Matthew Cordell
- Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Science and Nature, Wild Animals
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
- Publication date: February 1, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 2 - 6
- Number of pages: 48
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: Caldecott Medal and Honors
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.