HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Nutik, the Wolf Pup
Author: Jean Craighead George
Illustrator: Ted Rand
Publisher: Scholastic, republished in 2002
ISBN-13: 978-0060281656 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0060281650 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0439365765 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0439365767 (Paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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George Jean Craighead. Nutik, the Wolf Pup (published in 2001 by HarperCollins). Amaroq is a little boy who lives in an Eskimo village at the top of the world is named for the great wolf leader which saved the life of his big sister, Julie. One day Julie brings home a sickly wolf pup named Nutik for Amaroq to feed and tend. She warns him not to fall in love with Nutik because his heart will break when the wolves come to take their pup home. Amaroq takes care of Nutik, and soon the little cub is romping and playing and following Amaroq everywhere. Amaroq and Nutik become the best of friends, but soon it’s time for Nutik to rejoin his wolf family. Will Amaroq be strong like the great wolf leader after whom he was named and be able to let Nutik go?
Jean Craighead George has written some wonderful young adult novels, including the series about Sam Gribley and Frightful, beginning with My Side of the Mountain, although I specifically did NOT like her Newbery Medal-winning Julie of the Wolves. This picture book is based on a story from its sequel Julie’s Wolf Pack. George crafts a memorable story for a new generation of readers, and Ted Rand, who traveled to the Arctic tundra to research the pictures for this book, beautifully pictures with deeply textured illustrations the beauty and desolation of Alaska. Nutik, the Wolf Pup is a poignant and almost magical look at the love between a boy and a wolf pup, at the rightness of our actions, at the pain of duty, and at the rewards of responsibility. Another related children’s book by George is Nutik and Amaroq Play Ball (2001).