June 30, 2007

Runt - by Marion Dane Bauer

This seemingly cute book is really a realistic, occasionally bloody look at the lives and habits of wolf families. That may not sound like your type of thing, but you may be surprised. Bauer wrote this book as the fictional story of the smallest guy in a new litter of pups, named Runt by his father, the leader of the pack. Time after time, little Runt disappoints his father and family, and just can't seem to do anything right. In time, though, Runt finds a way to prove to his family that he's just as important as any of them, and the ending is sweet without being the least bit sappy.

It's obvious that the author did quite a bit of research on wolves for this book, which is set in the woods of northern Minnesota, her home state. The details are very vivid, and the hunt scenes may make vegetarian readers squirm just a bit. It seems that Bauer got her facts right, and that the way she describes the wolf family is very accurate (to learn more about wolf families, click here). This book will appeal to readers who love quick, challenging, rewarding books, and who would like to learn more about what it's like to live as a wolf in the wild.