The Wolf-Birds

By Willow Dawson

From 5 to 8 | 40 pages

In a story set deep in the wild winter wood, two hungry ravens fly in search of their next meal. A pack of wolves is on the hunt, too. Food is scarce, but, if they team up, the ravens and wolves just might be able to help each other.

The ravens follow a pack of starving wolves on the hunt. The wolves come up empty handed – and even lose one of their own in the chase – but the ravens have better luck. The wolves hear the ravens cawing and investigate only to find an injured deer, the perfect meal! The wolves make the kill; the opportunistic ravens benefit, feasting alongside and after the wolves. 

The Wolf-Birds takes an honest, unflinching view of survival in the wild, highlighting the fact that one animal’s life helps many others live. Based on scientific data and anecdotal reports from Aboriginal hunters, the book explores the fascinating symbiotic relationship shared by wolves and ravens. Because ravens follow and scavenge food from wolves — which scientists believe hints at an ecological relationship thousands of years old — ravens have been dubbed “wolf-birds.” An informational author’s note at the back of the book explains more about this amazing animal behavior.

Lyrical, spare text and acrylic paint illustrations combine to give this picture book a elegant, stylized feel that completes this portrait of a multi-faceted symbiotic relationship.

 

"Layering beautiful illustrations and storytelling over scientifically accurate concepts, The Wolf-Birds
draws readers to the poetry of predator, prey, and scavenger interactions. Dawson’s honest portrayal of ecological relationships effectively, and importantly, connects us to the raw beauty of our natural world."
– Daniel Stahler, PhD, Wildlife Biologist, Yellowstone National Park

"An interesting, contemplative addition to the nature shelf." - Kirkus
"Graceful artwork...a fine resource for demonstrating how the hunt depends on cooperation both within a species and between them." - Publisher's Weekly
"Graphic novelist Dawson's acrylic-on-cardboard illustrations suggest an archetypal, cave painting style, at times whimsical but nonetheless dynamic and intimate...a solid introduction to forest ecology." - School Library Journal-Starred Review
"A book that brings its subject to life in an unconventional fashion, and offers a refreshing and reflective addition to the natural-world bookshelf." - Quill & Quire
"Layering beautiful illustrations and storytelling over scientifically accurate concepts, The Wolf-Birds draws readers to the poetry of predator, prey, and scavenger interactions. Dawson’s honest portrayal of ecological relationships effectively, and importantly, connects us to the raw beauty of our natural world."
"Earth-toned acrylic paintings, with stylized, flat forms in spare landscape, evoke the leanness of the woods in late winter and highlight the stark realities of the life cycle." - The Horn Book Inc.
"Recommended." - Canadian Review of Materials
"I really do like the pictures in this book. They make you feel nervous, and then sad, and then happy, like you've just made a new friend." - Kids' Book Buzz
New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading & Sharing, 2015
The Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada 2016 Information Book Award, 2016
TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, 2016
Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, 2016
Nominated for the 2017 Blue Spruce Award, 2017
Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens,

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