HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Flight of the White Wolf
Author: Melvin Richard (Mel) Ellis
Cover Illustrator: Dick Amundsen
Publisher: Apple Paperbacks, republished in 1988
ISBN-13: 978-0030897283 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0030897289 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0590420532 Paperback
ISBN-10: 0590420534 Paperback
Language level: 2
(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)
Recommended reading level: Ages 12-16
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Ellis, Melvin Richard (Mel). Flight of the White Wolf (published in 1970 by Holt Rinehart and Winston Inc.; republished in 1974 by Scholastic Book Services, a division of Scholastic Magazines Inc., New York City, NY). Fifteen year old Russet (Russ) Clagg, a star cross-country runner at Mukwonago Union High School, lives with his father and mother in the heart of southern Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine state forest. The Claggs run one of the largest and most modern training and boarding kennels for dogs in the state. Russ has had Gray, named for his gray fur when a snarling little pup which has now turned white, as a pet wolf for seven years. But then, Gray gets loose and kills a boxer named Bo, a champion show dog. So Russ sets off in pursuit of his fleeing pet and begins a dangerous journey northward to protected land as posses with bloodhounds pursue and cold, snowy weather moves in, risking his life to save his pet from capture and death. Will Gray make it to safety? Or will they get caught? And will Russ survive the ordeal? This is the kind of adventure book that I dearly loved to read as a teenager.
There are a couple of common euphemisms (darn, gosh), but no cursing or profanity. Those with squeamish stomachs might want to know that in a couple of scenes Russ has to eat raw meat. In the area of values, some might object to the perceived lack of consequences for Russ’s dishonest actions. Yet, on one occasion when Russ feels that he must steal some food, the author says that “stealing was rupturing that part of the moral code which needed some thought.” The fact is that in the lengths Russ’s love will go to help the wolf escape the boy learns the virtue of manly character. As one reviewer noted, Ellis doesn’t talk down to his intended young audience yet doesn’t make kids think they can easily go out and survive in the woods on their own. Also, a lot of educational information about wolves is included. The story was made into a Walt Disney television movie, The Flight of the Grey Wolf, in 1976.