Book title: The Wolves of Currumpaw
Author: William Grill
Every once in a while, along comes a book that is a true masterpiece. Flying Eye found a real treasure in William Grill who has given us not one of these books, but two! An original and beautiful work of art, the Wolves of Currumpaw is a heart breaking story of rebellion, resilience and the power of hope – hope that man can change, make amends and learn to heal the wounds they have created in the natural world.
“Half a million wolves once roamed freely across North America… These were the dying days of the old west and the fate of the wolves was sealed within it.”
Inspired by the tales of Ernest Thompson Seton (Wild Animals I Have Known 1898), an early pioneer of animal fiction writing, William Grill set on telling the whole story of Seton: a story of a man set on freeing the Currumpaw valley from the terror of a notorious pack of grey wolves and their leader – a giant among wolves – Lobo. As we read of Seton’s efforts and determination to succeed where so many others had failed, we, in turn, meet the wolves at the heart of this story: Lobo, the ruler of the plains, Blanca, the most beautiful wolf Seton had ever seen, and Lobo’s small, yet fiercely loyal, band of wolves. Grill gives the animals a voice and the reader is absorbed into their world, watching as the wolves evade trap after trap, feeling pride at their rebellious nature, smarts and bravery, and championing their survival.
The Wolves of Currumpaw has a simple plot; rooted in truth, with a love story at its core, it is compelling and utterly heart-breaking! Not wanting to spoil it for any future readers, I shall not give away the twist, the moment that changes everything, and ultimately changes Seton.
“Ever since Lobo, my sincerest wish has been to impress upon people that each of our native wild creatures is in itself a precious heritage that we have no right to destroy or put beyond the reach of our children” - Ernest Thompson Seton
The messages within this story are accessible and of such value, not just to children but readers of all ages. The Wolves of Currumpaw opens the door to learning about the natural world and the devastating impact man can have upon it. Learning about endangered species and how the wildlife within our own country has changed and is continuing to change due to the human impact on the natural world, is both eye-opening and, at times, shocking. Seton’s life and the comparison between his actions and choices before and after encountering Lobo will lead you to consider whether or not it is ever possible for a villain to become a hero, or for any good to come from the worst of situations.
William Grill’s books are a visual feast: a perfect and inspired blend of art and literature. There are few books can convey such meaning, intertwined stories and factual truth with so few words. There are even fewer where each page could be considered a piece of art (I want to wallpaper my house in them and live inside the pencilled lines and hues of Grill’s landscapes). So, reader, this is a book you must own, read and love for yourself. I am only left wondering what wonder William Grill will bring us next and how soon I can get my hands on it!