by Marion Dane Bauer
4.5 65

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Runt by Marion Dane Bauer

In this beautifully written story set in the north woods of Minnesota, four healthy wolf pups—Leader, Sniffer, Runner, and Thinker—are born one spring. And then one final, undersized pup emerges—Runt.
Despite his size, Runt manages to keep up with his brothers and sisters and learn the ways of the pack. But he finds it impossible to please his father, the pack’s leader, and gradually withdraws from the others. When he ventures into forbidden human territory, Runt at last comes to understand his mistakes and to recognize his own worth. Award-winning author Marion Dane Bauer combines her gift for evocative writing with her in-depth knowledge of wolves to create a compact tale that has the power of an epic. Like the best animal stories, it reflects our own world and shows us what it means to be alive. Afterword.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547511863
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 10/21/2002
Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 1,040,894
File size: 118 KB
Age Range: 6 - 9 Years

About the Author

Marion Dane Bauer has written more than one hundred children's books, including picture books, easy readers, early chapter books, and novels. She won a Newbery Honor for On My Honor, a middle grade coming-of-age story. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Read an Excerpt


Spring comes late to the forests of northern Minnesota. Geese soar in from the south, only to stand flat-footed on frozen lakes, complaining loudly to one another. Bears, groggy and cross, emerge to a world still cloaked in snow. Deer search in vain for tender shoots. Yet the wolf pups pushing their way into the world found their den warm and dry and welcoming.

Their silver mother greeted them, one by one, drying wet fur with her tongue and massaging breath into each tiny body. And though their eyes were sealed, their ears folded tightly against their heads, she could guess already what place each would take in the pack.

"Leader" she named the first brown pup, a vigorous male. The second, a female, she called "Sniffer." And she gave Sniffer's twitching nose an extra lick. Another female arrived, with spindly legs already in motion. "Runner," Silver said. "You will be swift and sure-footed, and the pack will need you." Then she drew the pup toward her nurturing body. The fourth emerged with his brow furrowed. "Thinker," his mother said fondly, licking his forehead smooth. "You will always be watching and planning, won't you?"

The den, dug into a hill above a frozen lake, angled downward from the entrance for six feet, then made a ninety-degree turn and rose for another six feet to the birthing room. The pups' father, King, a large black wolf with a white star on his chest, had been lying at the turn of the narrow tunnel, listening, waiting. As each pup emerged, his tail wagged fiercely. When the fourth pup had settled at the mother's side, King backed rapidly toward the surface.

"Four pups," he told the others waiting there. "Four healthy pups. Each one of them big and strong!" Then he danced, leaping and whirling for the joy of the new life that had come to the pack.

Helper, a young tan male born to these same parents the year before, danced, too. His silver sister, Hunter, joined them. "How fine to have pups!" they sang. How fine, too, no longer to be the youngest, the least in the pack!

Bider, a mature male, pure white, came forward. "What good news, King," he said, lowering his body and reaching up to nudge his leader's chin.

A few moments later, however, when King and the two yearlings lifted their heads to sing the new pups' praise, Bider looked on in silence. Once he, too, had been king. He'd had his own pack, his own pups to sing for. But that was before he had been deposed and driven out to hunt alone in the darkest part of winter. Now he waited, biding his time . . . and another king's pups were not what he was waiting for. He turned from the celebration.

The howl finished, King crawled once more into the den to check on his new family. Leader, Sniffer, Runner, Thinker. What splendid pups!

This time, though, he stopped, puzzled, halfway between the entrance and the birthing room. What was that new smell? He strained to see in the deep dark of the den. The eyes of a wolf gather in even the faintest rays of light, so he could just make out the four brown furry bundles lined up along their mother's belly. They were nursing vigorously, intent on their first meal. King's tail went into motion at the very sight of them.

But Silver was busy with something more. A pup? Was she washing another pup? Yes. This one black like his father, black with a minute white star on his chest.

King's own chest swelled at the sight, and he inched forward eagerly. A look-alike son! What name would his mate choose for this son who wore his black fur and white star?

But Silver offered no name. She only went on licking.

King scooted forward further to check his son himself. He sniffed the new pup from nose to tail, tail to nose again, then drew back slowly.

Something was wrong. The black pup was small. Much too small. And he was not yet breathing.

"Runt!" The name exploded from King. "This one's a runt."

The world beyond the den was a good one, but it was hard. Only the strongest, the best, the most intelligent and competent survived in it. And sometimes not even they. Two of the pups in the last litter had died before they ever emerged from the den. Their mother had taken them, one at a time, off into the forest to bury them. Would she be doing the same again?

At last, under Silver's persistent tongue, the black pup took a breath. Then another. Air filled his tiny lungs, just as it did his brothers' and sisters', and his mother drew him gently toward her belly to begin to nurse.

Only then did Silver acknowledge her mate and the name that had sprung unbidden from his lips. "He may be Runt for now," she said, laying her chin across this latest arrival, "but who knows what gift he may bring to the pack?"

"Who knows?" King repeated softly, though wasn't the pup's mother supposed to know? She always had before. "Maybe," he added, "you have a better name."

Silver was silent for a long time. "No," she said at last, "I know no other. Not yet."

Which only confirmed King's fears. His son was marked for death.

The pups' father looked long and hard at his five offspring, especially at this last, the one whose black fur and white star filled him with such love. Then, tail wagging more slowly this time, he backed toward the surface to carry this further news to the pack.

Leader, Sniffer, Runner, Thinker. Four fine pups.

And Runt. Now there was Runt.

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Runt 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 65 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I think I have read it a total of seven times now. Although it is an easy read, it's supposed to be. It is made for young children. The book itself is based on a wolf pup named Runt. He is, as his name implies,a runt. Runt spends his whole life trying to prove to the leader of the pack, also known as King or his father, that he is more than what they call him. In some ways, I think that Runt's journey is almost like being a teenager. Everywhere you turn, you are trying to prove to someone else that you are more than who they think you are. However, the troubles down your road, no matter how devastating,help you to reach your final outcome. The troubles only lead you to the stage on which you sing. Runt is just another book by just another person, but if you read it, and I mean really read it, you see that Runt is a book that is a small piece of Heaven packed onto pages. Two thumbs up to Marion Dane Bauer, the author. I only have one question...are you going to be writing a second book anytime soon?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It will touch youre heart and is a book for ALL ages
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is agood book i read it in sixth grade i loved it and read it like 7 times
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i loved the book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sad but a great ending. I loved how the author put humans in it and how the wolves probably feel about us. Tough time for Runt...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love wolves and boks on them and their cool stories with their packs and hthis one ks great because it recallls a pup hat is small desrined for death but will show them
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Incredible! I lovd this book. It has so much great adventure and the ending is one of my favorite parts!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have't read the book yet but looking forward to reading it once i impove in math , what i HATE !!!! ( a lot)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cutest book I ever read
Sarah Katherine Pilcher More than 1 year ago
I wasn't hooked during parts of the book. It was a good read but I thought it was a little short.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the book and it was amazing!!!!! It was almost perfectly written: a little fun and some sad parts. It really shows some of the things that real wolves face.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Runt was a very good book. I liked it becasue it was about animals and the struggle of life, not only for something small but for everyone/thing. I also liked it because it shows how getting along with your family is important and how your strenght dosn't come with muscles or size but from how hard you try.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Runt was a very good book. I liked it because it was about animals and the struggle of life, not only for someone/somthing small but for everyone.I also liked it becasue it shows how getting along and the relationship of your family is more important than anything.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
.... heh this died out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Hi says a little pup my name is skypup can i join?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi i am blossompup says Blossompup.I am Stormpup says Stormpup.Can we join???they both say.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kyanta licks her swollen paw. She remembers the human shooting right by it...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*A white shewolf with cyan blue eyes leaps in. Her name is Feather.* Hi I'm Feather! Can I join? (Ps whoever said it was Hump Day YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Crawls in secretly
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am leaving....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Contact me at grant res 1
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh my! *she watched the poison* I'll see if I can do it again. *she looked at RedFang determined and she closed her eyes. Waves of vibration went through the air, she whispered words and the spider came crawling out and poison was no longer there. RedFang can live again* here you go RedFang, all better. Get a good night's rest and you won't feel naxious anymore. Night! Thank you BlueFang for letting me be a part of the flaming sun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to flower res 14
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not mine. TWWS's. Why wouldn't combine? It would be fun and it would add bigger territory and more wolves? I mean it ok if not but it would add great extras. You would still be leader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I start howling