Wolf in the Snow

Reinberger Review

Besides a couple of whines, sniffs, howls and barks, this wordless picturebook tells the courageous story of a little girl who gets lost in the snow while walking home from school. She finds and saves a wolf pup who has lost his wolf pack, and together they travel through the unforgiving and blinding snow. As the snow gets heavier with each turn of the page, the girl braves through with wolf pup in tow, and finally delivers the pup back to his mother, leaving the girl alone and vulnerable. But when she hears the calls from her dog barking in the distance, she travels toward him, only to be left too exhausted to continue. The wolf pack, however, encircles the girl’s body in the snow, their howling leads the little girl’s family to her rescue. These deceivingly simple cartoon-style illustrations begin with a prelude to the story: a family nestled in a warm cabin in the woods; followed by a full spread of the little girl (dressed in a red coat) waving goodbye to her dog; and with the next turn of the page, on one side and inside its own circle, is the girl walking alone and on the opposite page, again in its own circle, the wolf pack. It’s as if you’re looking through binoculars, seeing the girl in one lens and the wolf pack in the other. Cordell uses this technique twice more in the book: once to show the girl and wolf cub lost and walking alone through the snow, and again to show the girl’s encounter with the mother wolf. From the wordless prelude to the end of the story, to the pictures under the book jacket, this one is brilliantly executed.

Michelle Baldini

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