Skip to main content

The Wolf Wilder By Katherine Rundell

This book is recommended for grades 4-6. As always, it is the guidance of an adult that might help make this book work for younger children as well.
     When a novel is set in pre-revolutionary Russia, there is at once a contradiction of austerity and explosions of color. A quick search on google brings up:
     It is in this Russia where Katherine Rundell sets her new book The Wolf Wilder. The protagonist of the story is Feodora who lives deep in the snowy woods with her mother. The woods are cavernous and treacherous, but inside their cabin there is good food, dancing, and the joy they find with their wild animals. Here live the Wolf Wilders who take in wolves born and bred as luxury items of Russia's rich who discard them when they reveal themselves to be inappropriate as pets. Feodora's mother has raised Feo with these wolves as her siblings. She is more wolf than girl and this becomes her challenge after soldiers take her mother into custody. In order to find her mother and bring her back to safety, Feo must learn to be human. Feo uses her wolf's instincts to get her through the woods, but it is her relationship with the young soldier Ilya that transforms her and moves her closer to her goal. The two become inseparable despite their initial lack of trust. The beginnings of their own revolution against what adults have done to the world flames when they meet Alexei, a young revolutionary who has tried and failed to get people motivated for the cause.
     As a teacher and a parent, it is difficult not to see the metaphor of the need for wolf wilders in our own environment. Often we must take children who have been tamed by academics and reintroduce them to the world of play where they will learn the social skills of their own age groups instead of those of adults. When we reintroduce play and reading for one's own pleasure, we transform children into open-minded learners who stoke their flames of curiosity. These untamed children will be the inventors of our time.
     Rundell's story evokes an age of fairy tales where wolves take center stage and are feared by all but those who identify with their true selves. The book reminded me a great deal of Ursu's Breadcrumbs because I regularly stopped to think about what things meant within the story and outside of the story. It is an adventure and it is an allegory. Like all good stories, it becomes what you bring to it. For me it was a story about a girl and the power she has to give other people the power they have as long as she recognizes and embraces being human.

Comments

  1. Your review has me intrigued about this book. I've never read about Russia or wolves, except long ago I fell in love with the book "Julie of the Wolves." I love that the author wrote with her feet on ice to actually feel the cold in her bones. Do you have a suggested age group?
    It is interesting how you can find a connection between this allegory and the education of children. Are we removing the wild from them? How do we find a balance?
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the video. I am so attracted to reading this book now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kimberley,
    Bottom line: I want to read this book. I think that is the best thing I could say about any book review. I particularly love your thinking around it. For me that connection was the hook that pulled me in completely. I suppose connections to my life is what I love about books.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

5 Ways to Help Gifted Kids Find Their Gifts

When I work with gifted kids, I'm amazed by their lack of understanding about what interests them. They know how to surf the net exhaustively for Youtube videos that make them laugh, but not what skills and practices further their interests.

Developing interests and passions is critical to these students. Many people out there tell me that this is not just for gifted kids, that their average developing child needs to know how to do this too. While of course I agree that this is true, I also think that typical academic, fine arts, and sports programs are available in most communities are enough to engage and motivate most kids. Not true of gifted children who become jaded, disinterested, and shut down quickly when a program doesn't meet their needs.
Most people think of gifted students as being prodigies who know exactly where their gifts lie. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I often question if some children who are identified as gifted will ever find thei…

Writing Short, Day 1

I've taken a new position. I'm now an editor and writer at a company called We Are Teachers. I do some article writing for them, but I also write very short pieces designed for emails or giveaways. I didn't think I'd like this kind of work, but I do! It brings me back to the importance of knowing how to write short. I've talked about this before, but here's the book I'm referencing:
And thank you, Roy Peter Clark, for soothing my guilt about writing specifically for the Tweet. In “How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times,” this amazing writer praises Twitter’s 140-character limit as a tool for “intelligent cutting.”
So, as a way to get better at my new craft, I'm re-reading his book and actually doing the activities at the end of each chapter. The first: Practice writing plain sentences that contain a grace note, one interesting word that stands out. ___________________________________________
As did Proteus, I move forward into change. I figure, I …

DigiLit Sunday: Relationships

In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf..

On Sunday, I interviewed a woman named Julie Lindsay. She lives in Australia and started a company called Flat Connections. Her message to me was that Web 2.0 tools have changed the face of education. It brought the walls down so that we could all reach each other.

On  Monday, I read a book by Pernille Ripp, a teacher living in Wisconsin. In Reimagining Literacy through Global Connections, Ripp's message to me was to keep it simple when going global, the students just need to know they can connect and share who they are.

On Tuesday, I voxed Julieanne Harmatz. "Let's do this!" I said. "I've got a fourth grade, you've got a fifth. Mine is in Maine, yours is in California. Let's read together and share thoughts." She agreed.

On Wednesday, Julieanne emailed suggestions for three books she had multiple copies of. I book talked them to my students that afternoon.

On Thursday, I worked online with…