Eye of the Wolf

Overview

Reminiscent of THE LITTLE PRINCE, Daniel Pennac’s fable of a boy and a wolf who dare to meet each other’s gaze unfolds with humor, poignancy, and philosophical resonance.

They were born worlds apart, the wolf from the Far North and the boy from Yellow Africa. Now all that separates them is a cage at the zoo. The wolf has lost much on his journey, including an eye and his beloved pack. But when he finally consents to trust the strange, still ...

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Candlewick, 02/01/2003, Hardcover, Brand New! New dust jacket.

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Grafe, Max Cambridge, MA 2003 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Gift Quality. Pristine. Tight. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Collectors item. Carefully packed in ... bubble wrap. 1st Edition. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 112 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: Children/juvenile. Gift Quality. Pristine. Tight. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Collectors item. Carefully packed in bubble wrap. 1st Edition. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Reminiscent of THE LITTLE PRINCE, Daniel Pennac’s fable of a boy and a wolf who dare to meet each other’s gaze unfolds with humor, poignancy, and philosophical resonance.

They were born worlds apart, the wolf from the Far North and the boy from Yellow Africa. Now all that separates them is a cage at the zoo. The wolf has lost much on his journey, including an eye and his beloved pack. But when he finally consents to trust the strange, still little boy who has been watching him - to meet his eye - their lives intersect with unforgettable results. Master storyteller Daniel Pennac weaves the events of two lives into a mythic tapestry that ultimately and magnificently reveals the fellowship of all creatures. Ten illustrations by Max Grafe enhance this fabulous translation from the French.

An Alaskan wolf and an African boy, meeting at a zoo in "The Other World," read in one another's eye the hardships each has faced, and their understanding helps to bring healing to them both.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two allegorical stories, one of a boy named Africa and one of a captive Alaskan wolf who has only one eye, Blue Wolf, merge through a unique device in this unusual tale by French author Pennac: the boy and wolf communicate solely through eye contact. The boy mysteriously appears at the wolf's cage. "He stands there silently, without moving a muscle. Only his eyes shift." The boy stays each night until the wolf is asleep and returns before he wakes. One day Africa does something "strange that calms the wolf and makes him feel more at ease. The boy closes an eye." The wolf then tells his story to the boy, through images in his pupil, and their communication slowly melts Blue Wolf's mistrust of humans; this opening up paves the way for another-he can finally open his scarred second eye. As the boy tells his own tale, which, like the wolf's, reveals the cruelty of human beings, readers learn of his gift with animals, from his long desert days upon a camel's back. Through their shared gaze and stories, the boy and wolf forge a kind of kinship and help each other heal. The stark narrative style keeps an intense hold over readers, and the dreamlike mixed-media illustrations in an impressive array of shadowy charcoal tones reinforce the graceful mingling of real and surreal events. Ages 10-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
One day Blue Wolf sees a boy looking at him though the bars of his cage. The wolf is in a zoo and does not care much about life any longer. His companion of many years has died and he is alone. Day after day the wolf finds the boy there, looking at him. Finally, the boy and the wolf share their lives. Looking into each other's eyes they see all that has happened to the other for as long as they have had memories. In prose that is close to poetry, the author tells the story of Blue Wolf and the boy, Africa. We learn about the hardships they have endured and the losses they have had to suffer. We also learn about the ways in which humans are destroying this world, stealing its beautiful places from the animals and taking animals away to put them in zoos. The environmental message is subtle and a warning to us all. We need to listen; we need to see the beautiful places that Blue Wolf and Africa have explored. Finally, the stories are over and both the wolf and the boy are no longer alone. In sharing their stories they have become companions. A very powerful story beautifully illustrated by Max Grafe. 2002, Candlewick Press,
— Marya Jansen-Gruber
VOYA
Since the hunters captured him ten years ago, Blue Wolf has lived behind the steel bars of various zoo cages. Detached from his surroundings and alone after the death of his only companion, he emotionlessly observes with his one eye the humans who pass. Now a strange and silent boy has disturbed his solitude. The child does not cry or shout like the others. He only watches. One day, the boy closes an eye in a show of solidarity with Blue Wolf, and a connection is forged. As their respective life stories emerge, each gains insight into the other's pain and how he came to be in this place. Librarians and media specialists will find this translation of a story originally published in France touching. Although the perennially popular subject of wolves and the simple illustrations will appeal, it strikes this reviewer as a title more likely to be assigned by an instructor than independently selected. On the surface, the tale interweaves the experiences of the orphaned African boy and the Alaskan wolf, as well as the influence of secondary characters on their lives. As one delves deeper, a thoughtful commentary on the precarious relationship between humankind and animals emerges, with the theme of the human dominance of the natural world and humankind's determination to mold it to serve its own purposes most prominent. The text is appropriate for younger readers, but older teens will better appreciate the novel's symbolic aspects. 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 (orig. 1982), Candlewick, 112p,
— Julie Watkins
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-A lone wolf paces his enclosure at a zoo, growing annoyed by a boy who stares at him, day after day. Finally, he decides to challenge the boy and he stares back. But the wolf has just one eye, having lost the other when he was captured from the wild 10 years ago. So the boy closes one eye, and is then given a window into the animal's world. The wolf runs through his life like a movie, full of dialogue between the cubs and their mother, stories shared, adventures. Finally there is the cruel shock of his capture and the numbness of the years in captivity. When his story is complete, he asks the boy, "Who are you?" And as he stares deep into the child's open eye, a life of hard memories begins to unfold. The boy is Africa, a storyteller, raised carelessly by a trader. Befriended only by the animals he meets (who think and speak to one another and to Africa), he survives neglect and loss until he's taken in by an older couple who make him whole again. When habitat destruction forces the family to move to a city, the man gets a job at the zoo. And when Africa steps into it, he finds a world full of his friends, and one wolf, with one eye, and a story to tell. This is a simple but affecting allegory about how we treat animals, children, and our environment. The anthropomorphism gives the story a slightly magical feel that softens the horrors that have brought wolf and boy together. The sentences are short, and transitions between conversation and story are smooth. Soft gray pencil drawings illustrate the story. Easy and dramatic enough for reluctant readers, and with a depth of context that will inspire discussion, this well-translated story is ideal for reading aloud and for booktalking.-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A slight French import goes heavy on symbolism but light on story. A one-eyed wolf paces his cage day after day, ignoring everything outside of it, until he finds himself in a stare-off with a boy. In the way of magical realism, the two characters trade life stories, each by looking the other in the eye. Africa, the boy, sees Blue Wolf as he grows up in Alaska, living fairly idyllically with his brothers and sister until his capture and subsequent imprisonment in a series of zoos. Then Blue Wolf stares Africa in the eye, seeing the orphan grow up, first in Yellow Africa, then Gray Africa, then Green Africa, and finally the Other World, where they meet. Africa himself is a fey child, a storyteller who can make friends out of sworn enemies and whose mystical rapport with animals makes him a healer of sorts. It is his gaze that heals the wolf in the end, bringing together Alaska and all the Africas at once. While each character's individual story is developed fairly well and the tone effectively infuses the story with a touch of the fantastic, ultimately there seems to be little substance to the whole, beyond a general sense of environmental we-are-all-one-ness. This is mystery writer Pennac's (Passion Fruit, 2001, etc.) first book for children to be published in the US; while he shows a sure sense of mood and tone, the lack of actual narrative is likely to leave audiences wondering: what's the point? (Fiction. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763618964
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 1/20/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST US
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Pennac was born in Casablanca and spent part of his childhood in Africa. He now lives and teaches in a Paris suburb and is the author of numerous adult books. With books published in more than thirty languages, he is one of France’s most widely translated authors.

Max Grafe is a fine artist whose illustration clients have included Carnegie Hall, Audubon magazine, and GQ magazine. He says of EYE OF THE WOLF, his first book, "I related with the boy Africa because as a child I connected more with animals than with people."

Sarah Adams was born in Brussels and now lives in London. As well as translating books from French, she writes about travel, theater, and art.

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Read an Excerpt



Eye of the Wolf




By Daniel Pennac


Candlewick



Copyright © 2003

Daniel Pennac

All right reserved.


ISBN: 0763618969



I.
The boy standing in front of the wolf's cage doesn't move a muscle. The wolf paces backward and forward. He walks the length of the enclosure and back again without stopping.
He's starting to get on my nerves, the wolf thinks to himself. For the last two hours the boy has been standing in front of the wire fencing, as still as a frozen tree.
What does he want from me? the wolf wonders. The boy makes him feel curious. He's not worried (because wolves aren't afraid of anything), just curious. What does he want?
The other children jump and run about, shout and burst into tears, stick their tongues out at the wolf and hide their heads in their mothers' skirts. Then they make silly faces in front of the gorilla's cage, or roar at the lion as he whips the air with his tail. But this boy is different. He stands there silently, without moving a muscle. Only his eyes shift. They follow the wolf as he paces the length of his wire fencing.
What's wrong? Haven't you ever seen a wolf before?
The wolf sees the boy only every other time he passes him. That's because the wolf has only one eye. He lost the other one ten years ago in a fight against human beings, the day he was captured. So on his outward journey (if you can call it a journey) the wolf sees the zoo with all its cages, the children making silly faces, and standing in the middle of them all, the boy who doesn't move amuscle. On the return journey (if you can call it a journey) the wolf sees just the inside of his enclosure. It's an empty enclosure, because the she-wolf died last week. It's a sad enclosure with a solitary gray rock and a dead tree. When the wolf turns around, there's the boy again, breathing steadily, his white breath hanging in the cold air.
He'll give up before I do, thinks the wolf, and he keeps on walking. I'm more patient than he is, he adds. I'm the wolf.

* * *

III.
But the next day the boy is there again. And the following day. And the day after that. Until the wolf can't help thinking about him again. Who is he? What does he want from me? Doesn't he have anything to do all day? Doesn't he have work to do? Or school to go to? Hasn't he got any friends? Or parents? Or relatives?
So many questions slow his pace; his legs feel heavy. He's not worn out yet, but he might be soon. Unbelievable! thinks the wolf.
At least the zoo will be closed tomorrow. Once a month there's a special day when the zookeepers check on the animals' health and repair their cages. No visitors are allowed.
That'll get him off my back.

Wrong again. The next day, just like all the other days, the boy is there. He seems to be more present than ever--all alone in front of the enclosure, all alone in an empty zoo.
Oh, no, groans the wolf. But that's the way it is.
The wolf is starting to feel worn out now. The boy's stare seems to weigh a ton. All right, thinks the wolf. You've asked for it. And suddenly he stops walking. He sits bolt upright opposite the boy. And he starts staring back. He doesn't look through him. It's a real stare, a FIXED stare.
So now they're opposite each other.
There's just the boy.
And the wolf with the blue fur.
So you want to stare at me? Fine. I'll stare at you too. And we'll soon see. . . .
But there's something bothering the wolf. A silly detail. He's only got one eye and the boy's got two. The wolf doesn't know which of the boy's eyes to stare into. He hesitates. His single eye jumps: right-left, left-right. The boy's eyes don't flinch. He doesn't flutter an eyelash. The wolf feels extremely uneasy. He won't turn his head away for the whole world. And there's no question of starting to pace again. His eye begins to lose control. Soon, across the scar of his dead eye, a tear appears. Not because he's sad, but out of a sense of helplessness and anger.
So the boy does something strange that calms the wolf and makes him feel more at ease. The boy closes an eye.
Now they're looking into each other's eye, in a zoo that's silent and empty, and they've got all the time in the world.


Continues...




Excerpted from Eye of the Wolf
by Daniel Pennac
Copyright © 2003 by Daniel Pennac.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.


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