British Books Challenge 1- Wolf Brother

The first of our British Books Challenge reviews is going to be- Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver which I re-read last week ready to use it with my class this term.

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I love this book! I have happy memories of sharing it with my son when he was younger and I have read it to and used it to inspire many classes. Each of the 'Chronicles of Ancient Darkness' novels are excellent- but this is my favourite!

Set about 6,000 years ago, 'Wolf Brother' is the result of extensive, detailed research by Michelle Paver through which Torak's world comes vivdly to life.

In a dramatic beginning which engages from the first sentence, the novel starts with the death of Fa, Torak's father, as the result of an attack by a giant, possessed bear. It is Fa's dying words which set Torak off on his quest to save the Forest.

Starving, Torak finds a wolf cub- the survivor of a flash flood-and unable to kill it for food, he finds in the cub the guide his father spoke of. Together, they set off on their incredible journey.

'Wolf Brother' is beautifully written- the language is rich and evocative, full of details about Torak's life and surroundings. My current class are really enjoying exploring the language used, making collections and using those words themselves. Michelle Paver uses the full range of vocabulary available, playing effortlessly with words to create the best images possible- and the result is magical!

Told in relatively short chapters, 'Wolf Brother' makes a perfect story to read and enjoy. My son had the CDs of the story when younger which are read by Ian McKellan which are a pure joy to listen to. His rich, expressive voice really brings the story to life, creating a atmosphere which teacher/parent can enjoy alongside the children.Story time becomes even more special- if that's possible!

The story is told from different viewpoints and offers many opportunities for drama activities and writing. And it's writing which the children enjoy! They love exploring Torak's world and life, adding details from the text to colour their own work. The characters in the story- Torak, Wolf, Renn, Fin Keddin, Hord...- each have a distinct voice and personality, allowing the children a range of characters to identify with.

It's always a pleasure to use this book- there are so many wonderful choices that I am usually reluctant to keep using the same ones, but this is one that really works and offers such quality that I can't resist it!

We will add our teaching ideas to the Members' section of the site soon.

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

Orion Books     ISBN: 978-1842551318