From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8-This short novel is gripping. From the opening scene, through the lengthy flashback, then back to the present (1910), readers will be unable to set this book down. The story is told from the point of view of 14-year-old Therese. She looks back on a horrible winter, four years earlier, when a series of catastrophic and mysterious events forced her family to flee the homestead they had established on the Canadian prairie in the late 1800s. A particularly harsh winter drove a pack of wolves to move into a settled area from their normal home in the hinterland. Then Therese's mother began to behave oddly when the wolves were near their home. What was her connection to the wolves? Was it all a nightmare, or were there supernatural forces at work? The characters are interesting and believable, and Rice has deftly drawn even the most minor characters. The fine threads of the plot, with plenty of foreshadowing and tension, are woven into a richly textured cloth. The resolution is highly satisfactory, avoiding the usual sort of "Hollywood" ending, while leaving readers hopeful for the family's future. The relationship between man and nature, and the fear of wolves that has permeated human history, come together in this magical tale. It makes an excellent read-aloud and has the potential to become a modern fairy tale, read by one generation to the next, and passed on for years to come.Lucinda Lockwood, Thomas Haney Secondary School, Maple Ridge, BC
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5-8. Canada in 1906 is the setting of an eerie story sure to elicit chills and uneasy jokes from middle readers. During an especially severe and stressful winter, the wolves begin to appear every night. Although their mournful cry sets everyone's nerves on edge, no one is more upset than Therese's mother, who, nearly frozen and completely unable to remember anything of her past, had mysteriously arrived in the northern village during a horrible blizzard 13 years earlier. She stayed, eventually marrying and giving birth to Therese, the story's narrator, and her brother, Joey. The wolves had haunted the village then, and now years later, they have returned, menacing the homesteaders and killing livestock--looking for their white leader, Pinky the hired hand speculates. Only Pinky believes that the wolf they are searching for is Mama, the loving wife and mother with no past. Rice has crafted a suspenseful story that weaves the folklore of lycanthropy with the reality of family life and love. The reader, like Pinky, will slowly come to the horrifying realization of Mama's past and will grieve with her family as she is pulled further into the wolf pack. A strange, haunting book sure to appeal to early adolescents. Frances Bradburn