Friday, November 16, 2012

Lone Wolf

Title: Wolves of the Beyond: Lone Wolf
Author: Kathryn Lasky
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: January, 2010
Genre/Format: Fantasy/Novel
Goodreads Summary: A wolf mother has given birth, but the warm bundle snuffling next to her brings only anguish. The pup, otherwise healthy, has a twisted leg, and the mother knows what the harsh code of the pack demands. Her pup will be taken from her and abandoned on a desolate hill. The pack cannot have weakness - the wolf mother knows that her pup is condemned to die.
     But alone in the wilderness, the pup, Faolan, does not perish. This his story - a story of survival, of courage, and of love triumphant. This is Faolan's story, the wolf pup who rose up to change forevever the Wolves of the Beyond.
What I Think: A student who is in my yearbook class was so excited when he saw my classroom library that he came bounding over to me the first week and asked me, "You have so many books! So you read a lot, right? Have you read Wolves of the Beyond?!" He was so excited. And how can a teacher kill a kid's excitement in 2 seconds? By answering, "No. I'm not sure what that is..." Well, he was so flabbergasted by my lack of knowledge that he brought me the book to read, pretty much commanding me to. And I have to say, I am pretty glad he did. 
     Lone Wolf is obviously the beginning of what is going to be a majorly epic animal fantasy series similar to Erin Hunter's books and Redwall. This series is a spin-off of Lasky's Ga'Hoole series yet I never found that not reading Ga'Hoole hindered the story in the least. Though it takes place in the same land as the other series, it is new characters and still includes description and a map to help with the setting. 
     While reading, there were 3 things that really impressed me. 1st, like most fantasy animal fiction, I am always amazed by how an author can get into the head of animals. Lasky describes the animal instincts, aggression and emotions in such a beautiful way as if she can read their minds. 2nd, the world building in phenomenal. It amazes me when an author can build such a high fantasy world for their animals to live in. Finally, the immense plot development that is required to make these epic series and ones that intertwine like Wolves of the Beyond and Ga'Hoole astonish me even more. 
Read Together: Grades 3 to 7
Read Alone: Grades 4 to 8
Read With: Seekers (series) by Erin Hunter, Redwall (series) by Brian Jacques, Silverwing (series) by Kenneth Oppel
Snatch of Text: "In the Cave Before Time, he had seen two constellations of wolves. One was the starry one on the rock ceiling. The other "constellation" was not stars but the hunting and traveling formation of wolves running together. In that formation he had sensed a common feeling, a spirit of fellowship. It made him fell all the more lonely. He had wanted to run with those wolves, to be part of that "constellation," ever since he had first seen the picture." (p. 145)

Mentor Text for: Setting, Characterization, Plot Development, Descriptive, World Building (Mapping)

Writing Prompts: If you were to write a fantasy book like Lone Wolf, which animal would you choose to be your characters? How would the society be set up? What would you name the world you have them live in? Draw a map showing this world. 
Topics Covered: Parenting, Family, Animal instincts, Leadership, Adoption, Survival
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