Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Happy Book Birthday, This Wolf Was Different by Katie Silvensky

 It's time to celebrate another book birthday! I don't think I've had one of those for a few weeks now...horrible, right? I do love to party and this book looks like it might be worth the extra effort. If the artwork is anything like the cover (and I have reason to believe it is), then this will be a visual treat. Plus, I have a soft-spot for wolves.

So, let's just get this party started and take a look.

by Katie Silvensky
Illustrated by Hannah Salyer
Beach Lane Books
Picture Book
48 pages
ages 4 to 8

Inspired by natural history, this captivating picture book imagines how humans and wolves first came together, exploring individuality and how true friendship means embracing differences.

Long ago, a wolf pup was born in a forest. This pup was a wolf, and so were her brothers and sisters. But this wolf was different. She liked staying close to the den instead of hunting and chasing her tail instead of chasing other animals. She wished she were more like her siblings—more like a real wolf.

Then she meets a new kind of creature, no more like the other wolves than she is. As a new friendship blossoms, the wolf discovers that it’s okay to be different and, better yet, it’s a gift to be something new.

This gorgeously illustrated book includes extensive backmatter with scientific information about how wolves and humans first connected.

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With the atmosphere of an ancient myth, this is a gorgeously illustrated read to lean back with and enjoy.

Long, long ago, a litter of wolf pups was born. They tumbled, played, and chased everything around, but one pup didn't quite fit in. It wonders why it's different, although it seems to get a bit more like its siblings as it gets older. Then one day, it accidentally lags behind the rest of the pack and is left alone. While lost, it finally finds a place where it belongs.

I'm going to start with the illustrations because these are a treat in and of themselves. They carry so much atmosphere and remind a bit of ancient, indigenous tales with a slightly mystic twist, yet bring across the story wonderfully. The pups and scenes invite to flip through and revisit these time and again.

The text is also well done, offering exactly what is needed and no more. It flows right along with the images to create a dreamy atmosphere, while drawing in with all the needed emotions. The pup is easy to sympathize with, and yet, never takes a victim role, but rather is on a search of itself. It's well-paced and makes a lovely read-aloud.

As extra goodness to the tale, the end of the book carries information and historical details surrounding the history of wolves and dogs. This section is meant for the older/adult reader and offers a basis to teach the younger reader. This also would work well with a fitting historical or biological theme in groups, schools, or for homeschoolers...or even interested individuals. But with or without this information, it's still so nicely done and well worth taking a peek at.

And here they are...

Katie Slivensky is a professional science educator and enthusiast with science degrees from the University of Michigan and Stony Brook University. She is the critically acclaimed author of two middle grade novels, The Countdown Conspiracy and The Seismic Seven, and the picture book This Wolf Was Different, illustrated by Hannah Salyer. Katie lives just outside Boston with her family, including her cat, Darwin. Visit her at KatieSlivensky.com.

Hannah Salyer received her BFA in illustration and communication design, with a minor in environmental studies, from Pratt Institute. She resides in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes and illustrates picture books, including her own Packs: Strength in Numbers and Ancestory: The Mystery and Majesty of Ancient Cave Art, as well as This Wolf Was Different by Katie Slivensky. She also teaches art classes for young kids and illustration classes for undergrad students at Parsons School of Design. Visit her at HannahSalyer.com.

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