HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Kavik the Wolf Dog
Author: Walt Morey
Illustrator: Peter Parnall
Publisher: Puffin, republished in 1997
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable—one euphemism)
Reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Morey, Walt. Kavik the Wolf Dog (published in 1968 by E. P. Dutton; republished in 1997 by Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson St., New York City, NY 10014). Kavik is wolf dog, three quarters malamute and one quarter wolf. He had been trained by Charlie One Eye to win the North American Sled Dog Derby at Fairbanks, AK. The dog is then purchased by George C. Hunter, who owns mining and fishing interests in Northern Alaska. However, the plane on which Hunter sends Kavik is downed in a storm. The pilot is killed, but Kavik survives, though badly injured, and is found by fifteen-year-old Andy Evans, who lives with his father and mother in northern Alaska. Mr. Evans works at one of Hunter’s fisheries. With the help of Dr. Vic Walker, Andy nurses Kavik back to health.
Unfortunately, Kavik has been injured emotionally as well and runs in fear from other dogs in Copper City. When Mr. Hunter comes to the fishing village, Kurt Evans tries to tell Hunter about Kavik’s fear but the owner takes Kavik anyway. However, Kavik keeps escaping and going back to the Evans home, so Hunter sends him on a boat to his other home in Seattle, WA. Hunter’s trainer, Tom McCarty, sees that Kavik longs to go back north, so he “accidentally” lets the dog escape to start the 2,000 mile journey to northern Alaska. Along the way Kavik is taken to the pound, adopted by a sailing couple named John and Martha Kent, and allowed again to go. He is attacked by wolves, finds a wolf mate, and himself is hunted as a wolf. What will happen to the dog? Will he make it back to Andy?
Lassie Come-Home meets The Call of the Wild. I read Kavik mostly while on vacation and found it to be an enjoyable and exciting adventure. It is well written and easy to read. The Horn Book said, “Swiftly paced from the first page…dramatic and absorbing.” There is very little objectionable. There is some savagery, but the book is about animals living in the wilderness. I’m sure that the picture given is true to real life, and nothing is gratuitous. The only thing to note about language is that the euphemistic term “darnedest” is found once. Those who enjoy dog stories should like it. Author Walt Morey is perhaps best known for his book Gentle Ben.