Avi and Floca, Brian. Old Wolf
August 4th 2015 by Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Casey's 13th birthday is exciting-- he gets a book on bow hunting from his parents, and a special dinner is planned for that night, but his father is detained because of the spring snow. At the same time, things are rough for the leader of a wolf pack, Nashoba. He is challenged by a younger wolf, who bites his paw after Nashoba cannot find food for the pack. Nashoba manages to make friends with a Raven, Merla, who brings Nashoba food in exchange for a favor: there is a herd of elk without the bulls, and Merla would like the wolf pack to take down a couple and leave the flock some leftovers. Nashoba finds the herd and returns to tell the pack, but when the pack attacks, things go wrong and Nashoba is gravely injured. The next day, Casey goes out with his new bow and attempts to reenact the bow shooting video game that he has. He shoots and kills something and feels bad about it, but he also finds Nashoba and tries to help the wolf, getting himself attacked after putting ointment on the wolf's paw. Nashoba escapes, and Casey never plays his video game again.
Strengths: Wolves are one animal that students frequently want to read about, and there are not too many books. This is a short book, with plentiful illustrations, and so might be good for elementary schools or reluctant middle school readers who want an adventure story with hunting. Both parents are alive, and very supportive. The video game tie-in might appeal to some readers.
Weaknesses: This does have some violence, both between the animals, and with Casey shooting, and there didn't seem to be much of a plot.
What I really think: Not sure what the purpose of this one was. Avi is really hit or miss for me. Enjoyed Catch You Later, Traitor, and one of my older daughter's favorite books is The Good Dog, but I got to the end of this and wasn't quite sure what was supposed to have been conveyed.