Family Pack: Poetic Nature


Family Pack by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Alan Marks

This book captures the real-life story of wolves being reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park.  The focus of the story is one young female wolf who finds herself suddenly separated from her pack and alone in a new place.  Her tracks are the only wolf tracks she sees, she is the only wolf she smells.  Without a pack, she cannot hunt the way she is used to, so she survives mostly on mice.  As she becomes an adult, she discovers another wolf, a male.  The two of them become a mated pair and eventually have a family in Yellowstone.  One lone wolf has created her own pack.

Markle’s verse in the book really shines, illuminating the loneliness of this young wolf’s new life, her troubles with hunting larger game, and her growth into an adult wolf.  The poetry is filled with imagery that enlivens the book, making the cold and loneliness tangible to readers. 

Marks’ illustrations are equally successful.  He captures the setting beautifully from the towering trees to the wide open spaces.  In his illustrations, Yellowstone becomes just as real as the wolf herself, almost another character in the story.  The vistas and close-ups he has created here give readers a very unique perspective on the life of this wolf.

Highly recommended, this book will work well for slightly older children because of the depth of the verse.  It will work well in units about preservation and ecology.  Appropriate for ages 6-8.

Reviewed from copy received from Charlesbridge.