Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Wolf Keepers

My blog roll has disappeared! I don't know when that happened! Clearly, the wheels have completely fallen off the cart around here. If you were on it, don't feel personally slighted. Oh, well. Not a bad idea to rebuild those from time to time. People do stop blogging, and I hate when a list has lots of dead links. 

27414417Broach, Elise. The Wolf Keepers
October 11th 2016 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Lizzie Durango lives at a zoo not too far from Yosemite National Park because her father is the head zookeeper. Her mother died when she was a baby. When she sees a boy steal a family's lunch, she tries to track him down to find out what he was doing. She eventually catches up with Tyler and finds out that he has run away from his foster home and is spending his summer hanging out at the zoo. Lizzie invites him to stay at the small apartment over her garage where her grandmother stays when she comes to visit, and the two start to investigate the unusual sickness that the zoo wolves have, and the possible involvement of the zoo vet, Karen, in their sickness. The two are interested in visiting Yosemite to try to find John Muir's "lost cabin", so when they hitch a ride with Karen, trying to figure out what she's doing with the wolves, and end up at Yosemite, they try to find the cabin before heading home to deal with the consequences of their actions. 
Strengths: Like Gibbs' FunJungle series and Keating's How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied, this is an interesting behind-the-scenes look at life in a zoo. It may sound silly, but I FREQUENTLY have students ask for books about wolves-- it's really the only animal they request, but it's turned up regularly over the last 15 years! This had some intrigue, adventure, and some fun moments as well. Did like the fact that Tyler is briefly described as having a white mother and black father, and the cover does show that a tiny bit. 
Weaknesses: I wasn't pleased about Lizzie's mother being dead; there was no reason other than to have Lizzie not be supervised. It also seemed unlikely that she would ask a random stranger to live in the apartment, and the vet's actions with the wolves didn't receive the punishment I expected. These are all weaknesses that I felt but my students might not.
What I really think: Given the demand for wolf books and mysteries, I will purchase this. 


  1. I really enjoyed Masterpiece, by Broach, but haven't read anything else by her. I would read a book about wolves, Yosemite, zoos and John Muir, any day! (Though my all-time-favourite behind-the-scenes-at-a-zoo book is Dragonhaven, which isn't quite realistic.)(The zookeeper with the pandas and the basket of leaves in that youtube video should write a book. (If you haven't seen it and need something to make you smile, google panda zookeeper.)

  2. This one's in my pile for tomorrow's readathon. I was one of those kids asking for wolf books when I was younger :P