Wolf in the Snow

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Wolf in the Snow Book Poster Image
Girl rescues lost wolf pup in wordless tale of compassion.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows a snowy winter landscape and the effects of a strong snowstorm. The author did serious research on wolf behavior to portray actions that have actually occurred in nature.

Positive Messages

One good turn deserves another. Help those in need if you can. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The girl is kind, selfless, and compassionate. She puts the wolf pup's needs above her own and risks peril to help the pup find its pack. The girl's parents are kind and don't give up hope of finding her. 

Violence & Scariness

One scene shows wolves with steamy breath coming out of mouths filled with pointy teeth.

Language

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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

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.

Book details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love wordless books and animal stories

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate