Blue Wolf (Julie Andrews Collection Series)

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As far as Jamie knew, he didn't have an aunt, but the mysterious letter is just the beginning of the adventure. Jamie finds himself spending the summer with her in an isolated cabin without running water or electricity. He grows to love the near-wild existence, until his routine is upset by the arrival of two strangers, the shadowy presence of wolves, and the disappearance of Louise.

Jamie realizes there is a purpose to his summer visit. As he uncovers the truth, he must risk ...

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Overview

As far as Jamie knew, he didn't have an aunt, but the mysterious letter is just the beginning of the adventure. Jamie finds himself spending the summer with her in an isolated cabin without running water or electricity. He grows to love the near-wild existence, until his routine is upset by the arrival of two strangers, the shadowy presence of wolves, and the disappearance of Louise.

Jamie realizes there is a purpose to his summer visit. As he uncovers the truth, he must risk his own safety and make a decision that could change his world.

 

 

Following the death of his mother, fourteen-year-old Jamie is sent to live with his mysterious aunt in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, where he discovers some long-hidden family secrets.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her memorable debut, Creedon incorporates wolf behavior and their pack mentality to tell a haunting tale of the parallels between humans and animals. Three early events provide clues to the book's larger mystery: 14-year-old Jamie Park's mother has just died; he receives a letter from someone he's never met, signed "Aunt Louise," inviting him to join her for the summer in her cabin in the mountains; and as he runs in his school track meet, he has the uncanny feeling there are wolves at his heels. When Aunt Louise shows up for dinner, Jamie's father encourages him to leave with her for the summer. Although the woman is quite eccentric, a friendship quickly forms between the two. As Jamie begins to explore the woods and mountains surrounding Louise's home, other clues emerge: Louise has an enigmatic relationship with the wolves surrounding her cabin (she describes hunter and prey as "the basis for all contemporary dance") and he discovers a bone flute bearing arcane markings similar to the strange symbols in a letter from Jamie's father. Creedon's prose unspools with a masterly rhythm befitting a mystery as Jamie discovers his family's unusual lineage-quiet scenes of milking goats and tending chickens take on the same intriguing urgency as bump-in-the-night revelations. The author doles out formidable secrets just a little bit at a time; most readers will want to devour this absorbing tale in a single sitting. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Creedon's first novel, part one in a projected trilogy of fantasy novels, is presented as part of the Julie Andrews Collection, encompassing "books for young readers of all ages that nurture the imagination and celebrate a sense of wonder." Jamie Park, at age fourteen, still grieving over the recent death of his mother, is summoned away from his life with his emotionally distant, Korean scientist father to live with his Aunt Louise in her remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest. Her letter of invitation is Jamie's first realization that he even has an Aunt Louise, and only the first in a series of even more startling revelations. Early on, the reader becomes aware that Aunt Louise has a special relationship with the wolves that circle her lonely cabin; and indeed, Jamie himself has been accompanied by either imaginary or ghostly wolves nipping at his heels as he heads out for a daily run or to gather rock specimens. Somehow the wolves are connected to the bone flutes that Aunt Louise requires Jamie to learn to play and to the strange Korean uncle and his young ward, Cicely, who also emerge unaccountably from the forest to spend the summer with Jamie. The novel is capably written, with a vivid sense of place, but paced somewhat slowly: the wolf connections continually collect until the reader longs for Jamie to articulate the truths of the mystical linkage between humans and nature that have become all too obvious. 2003, HarperCollins, Ages 9 to 12.
— Claudia Mills
VOYA
Creedon's debut novel certainly nurtures the imagination and celebrates a sense of wonder, fulfilling the criteria for titles in the Julie Andrews Collection. Fourteen-year-old Korean American Jamie Park and his stoic scientist father have not spoken much since his mother died, but Jamie is still surprised to be spending the summer with an Aunt Louise whom he did not even know existed. Jamie finds himself living in a remote Pacific Northwest cabin, trying to figure out where this eccentric aunt fits into his family. During the day Jamie runs the mountain trails, sensing but not seeing the wolves running with him. Evenings are quiet in the cabin until Louise reveals a bone flute, carved with an intricate pattern. The intensity with which Louise corrects Jamie's mistakes suggests that playing the flute is more than entertainment. Jamie's family structure is further altered when he meets his Uncle Ji-Min, Louise's husband and his father's brother. Jamie is also surprised at how little Cicely, Ji-Min's goddaughter, knows about human behavior. Everyone but Jamie knows that time is running out. The summer is ending and Jamie must get the tune right. His Aunt's life depends on it. Louise, Ji-Min, and Cicely are shape-shifters, each with a bone flute tune that allows them to shift between human and wolf form. It is time for Louise to shift so that she can spend the winter with her pack, and Jamie must play her tune. The wolf lore and facts along with bits of Korean history and legend make this fantasy intriguing reading, from beginning to end. Give this one to readers who loved shape-shifter titles such as The Other Ones by Jean Thesman (Viking, 1999/VOYA August 1999) and Owl in Love by PatriceKindle (Houghton Mifflin, 1993/VOYA December 1993). It might also appeal to Linda Sue Park readers. VOYA Codes 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2003, HarperCollins, 192p., and PLB Ages 11 to 15.
—Ruth Cox
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Jamie, a 14-year-old rock hound and cross-country runner, remains clueless for three-fourths of this generally pleasing book, despite the presence of many clues that he is part of an extended family of shape-changers that transform to and from wolves in response to tunes played on ancient stone flutes. Bothered by the apparent ease with which his widowed Korean-American professor father agrees to have him stay with his mysterious "Aunt Louise" for the summer at her primitive mountainside cabin somewhere north of Seattle, the teen nevertheless learns to enjoy many aspects of her back-to-basics lifestyle. She's an odd one, answering few questions until Jamie forces the issue to find out more about his Uncle Ji-Min and Cicely, Louise's goddaughter who, though the same age as Jamie, has spent more time with the pack than with people. There are minor errors of fact about log splitting, bees, breaking car windows, and cross-country, but the details of Louise's rural homestead and Jamie's gradual realization of his part in the strained relationships among the adults are well integrated and interestingly portrayed. The climactic confrontation between Jamie's father and uncle, whose views of the boy's future differ significantly, provides a satisfying and somewhat open-ended resolution. Recommend this to readers who appreciate T. A. Barron's The Ancient One (Philomel, 1992) and the mix of human interest and ecological elements in the works of Jean Craighead George and Madeleine L'Engle.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Jamie Park, 14, is the descendant of a legendary Mongol warrior who roamed the mountains as a fierce blue wolf. When he accepts an invitation to spend the summer with his Aunt Louise, a relative he never knew existed, the visit exposes mysteries of the natural world. While living in the rugged northwest, Jamie feels both fear and familiarity from the wolves he senses around him. Louise evades the boy's incessant questions, but teaches him to play a tune on an ancient carved flute made of bone. As fall approaches, Jamie meets Louise's husband, Ji-Min, and goddaughter, Cicely, and learns that they are all shape-shifters and that the ancient flutes hold the power of transformation. Jamie's situation becomes a matter of survival when he goes against the pack leader, who puts the pack's interest ahead of individual choice. Some readers may find that Jamie's questions are vaguely answered throughout the story, only to be solved in a rushed manner at the end; others will take interest in Creedon's union of folklore and science. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060508708
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/2005
  • Series: Julie Andrews Collection Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Creedon is a storyteller, archivist, librarian, and award-winning essayist. She has worked in a prison library, museum library, a bookmobile, a library shaped like a castle, and another that looked like a ship. She grew up in Minnesota, and now lives on the eastern end of Long Island with her husband, Scott Sandell, and their two sons. Blue Wolf, part one in a trilogy of fantasy novels for children, is her first book.
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First Chapter

Blue Wolf

Chapter One

Dear Jamie,

Your father writes that you are, as always, perfect. He also tells me that the exact nature of your perfection has recently escaped him. Perhaps you should come for a visit? I would enjoy your company, and it would give him a much-needed opportunity to miss you. The choice is yours.

Love, Aunt Louise



"What are you reading?" barked Madame Mahoney.

"Nothing." Fourteen-year-old Jamie Park slid the letter under his French textbook. His teacher narrowed her eyes at him but turned back to the chalkboard. He peeked at the letter, then traced the odd, spidery writing with his finger. As far as he knew, he didn't have an aunt -- let alone an Aunt Louise.

Jamie pushed his thick black hair behind his ears and tried to pay attention. Usually he enjoyed French. His mother, a linguist, had shared with him a love of words and stories.

His father spoke to him, if he spoke at all, in two different languages: English and Korean. (Three if you counted all the technical terms connected with his research in paleozoology.) And the many scholars and scientists who passed through their home spoke such a variety of tongues that it often sounded to Jamie as if large flocks of birds were seated around the dining-room table. But today his mind wandered. He bent his head and sniffed the letter. Wood smoke, he thought, wood smoke and wet animals. Dogs? Not exactly. He sniffed again, ignoring the stares of his classmates. Wolves. It smelled like the wolves.

"Jamie," snapped Madame Mahoney as the bell rang, "you will stay after class."

"I have a track meet." He had to go. The wolves might be there today.

Madame Mahoney tapped a pencil, eraser end down, on her desk. Jamie knew she was trying to decide what to say to him. Though older and stricter than most of his teachers, she was his favorite. Her hair was dyed flaming red, and when she smiled he could imagine the girl she'd been in Paris before marrying an American and coming to the United States.

Why was she so comfortable here, when his own father, born in Korea, still had trouble fitting in? His dad had lived in Seattle for years but seldom looked beyond the activities of his lab at the university. He'd never even been to one of Jamie's races. Jamie sighed at the thought of his father. Madame Mahoney cleared her throat. Jamie snapped back to attention.

"Jamie," she said, then shook her head. "Here." She handed him a piece of paper. "This is tonight's homework. I noticed that you didn't copy it down. Find me tomorrow at lunch if you need help."

Jamie waited for her to continue, but she flipped the pencil over, bent her head to the desk, and began to correct papers.

Lecture over, thought Jamie. Both relieved and embarrassed, he wondered when the teachers would stop being so nice to him. He hoped it would be soon. Their tolerance, combined with the silence of his classmates, made him feel as though he didn't exist -- as though he had died along with his mother. He shoved the assignment and the letter into his pocket, then headed for the locker room.

Jamie jumped up and down, shaking his arms, trying to stay warm. It was the beginning of June, but the rain made it feel more like March. He jogged toward his teammates. They stopped talking as he approached; some shuffled uncomfortably, others just looked away. Jamie pretended not to notice and began to stretch. He was the fastest distance runner in the school; no one could pass him in the fall cross-country meets. He had to work a little harder at the shorter distances in spring track, but today was the last race of the season, and he was determined to win his event.

It was nearly time for the start. He stood with the other runners, flexing his knees a bit, when he heard it. A panting sound, faint at first, but steady. It was the wolves -- they always ran with Jamie when he needed them. When he'd first heard them, at a cross-country meet last fall, he'd been terrified. The wolves had followed him along the trails, and he had run hard to stay ahead, breaking out of the woods just in front of them. They'd caught up with him on the open sunlit field and crossed the finish line first. Jamie's time for that race had set a state record.

Since then, he'd heard them at most of his races, and if it was rainy, he could sometimes smell their wet fur. But he'd never seen them. And although he was unsure if they were real or imagined (no one else seemed to notice them), he was no longer afraid. Now he greeted them as friends. He relaxed a bit. It would be a good race. He wasn't alone after all.

Jamie had told his mom about the wolves when she was sick -- not because they bothered him, but because he thought she'd like the story. As she listened, her eyes held their old fire. When she spoke, her voice, though sad, was strong. "Of course they run with you, Jamie -- they are your family." She paused for a moment, and then spoke again with difficulty. "I should have known they would find you. Jamie, love, don't tell your dad about them just yet."

"My family? What do you mean?" He didn't know what he'd expected her to say, but it wasn't that.

She mumbled something about the flute music she was studying, then drifted off into the restless dreams that had occupied so much of her time in the days before she died.

Jamie was sure he felt a slight nip at his ankle as the starting gun went off.

Blue Wolf. Copyright © by Catherine Creedon. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2007

    Review of Blue Wolf

    It really was a great book but I hated how quickly it ended. I read the entire book in one day, no joke. I plan to read this several more times cause it was a good book. It was kinda a new twist to a 'myth' as old as time and I really liked it. I would recommend anyone to read this!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is really good. Usually I don't like books like that but it was really good. Full of adventure and exicitment it was really really good book I mean really good!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2005

    TOTALLY AMAZING

    I could not put the book down it was interesting and totally unpredictable. The ending was awesome and very suprising. A book worth reading twice!!!!!!!

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