"Bruchac, in top form here, crafts an exhilarating journey tale . . . readers won't be able to turn the pages fast enough." —Kirkus Reviews
"Bruchac's storytelling skills are on full display in this tale introducing an owl narrator...His tale agilely balances suspense, humor, and romance." —Publishers Weekly
"It is a welcome addition to the growing genre of Native American fiction for teens." —VOYA
Bruchac's (Skeleton Man) storytelling skills are on full display in this tale introducing an owlet narrator. Wabi's adventure begins almost immediately, when his brother pushes him out of the nest and into the path of a hungry fox. Wabi's great-grandmother, whom he's never met, comes to his rescue and takes him under her wing. She patiently answers the insatiably curious owl's questions, at times with stories. She tells him that the two of them share a "special gift": they communicate with each other in human language and are able to understand the speech of not only owls and people, but "other creatures toooo." Wabi becomes fascinated by the Native American residents of a nearby village, especially the children, whom he safeguards. Eventually, Wabi realizes that he is smitten with one of the teenagers, the sharp-tongued, headstrong Dojihla, yet recognizes the futility of his love. Guided by his great-grandmother, who confides a family secret, the love-struck owl attempts to win Dojihla's affection. The action continues when Wabi-accompanied by his trusty wolf companion, adopted while he was a cub-begins a harrowing quest to rescue the enslaved members of the wolf's pack and to save Dojihla's people from a deranged bear. Bruchac's tale agilely balances suspense, humor and romance. Ages 12-16. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Wabi is a great horned owl who hunts throughout the woodlands. Born into a strange family of squabbling siblings with a distracted mother, Wabi feels drawn to the human beings who live nearby. Then, one day Wabi is nearly eaten by a fox and is saved by another owl. That owl, Wabi's great-grandmother, tells him stories about their family. From his great-grandmother Wabi learns that some of his relatives had the power to shape shift and had once been human. Wabi is stunned by this revelation, but it also makes him wonder if he too has that ability. Over time Wabi befriends a wolf pup, becomes drawn to a Native American girl, and discovers that his life is destined to be one filled with adventure. Wabi: A Hero's Tale is a beautifully told story based upon Native American legends. Told with a careful eye for the woodlands, its creatures, and the mythology of Native people, Wabi is a book that will charm its readers. This is a story of adventure and drama, but also one that helps readers to understand that who they are is determined by themselves and not the expectations of others. 2006, Dial Books/Penguin, Ages 12 up.
Greg M. Romaneck
Wabi begins life as a great horned owl. When just a fledgling, he falls from the nest but survives with the help of his watchful great-grandmother. Under her tutelage, Wabi grows to become a brave and confident owl. As he travels through the forest, Wabi finds himself fascinated by a tribe of humans living in his territory. He is particularly entranced by a young girl named Dojihla and is overcome with love for her. He confides his longing for Dojihla to his great grandmother, who tells him that he has the ability to shape-shift to human form. But even as a handsome young human warrior, Wabi still has to prove himself worthy to the headstrong and beautiful Dojihla. To earn her hand, he must go on a dangerous quest with his loyal wolf friend Malsumsis to rid the forest of the monsters that threaten Dojihla's tribe. This vividly imagined Native American shape-shifting tale is sure to please Bruchac's fans. He crafts a wonderful adventure story that blends Native American legends with elements of heroic fantasy and mythology. Teens yearning to transform themselves will identify with Wabi's desire to abandon all that he knows for love. Readers who enjoyed Louise Erdrich's The Birchbark House (Hyperion, 1999) and Bruchac's own acclaimed novel, Skeleton Man (HarperCollins, 2001/VOYA October 2001), will be delighted by this simply told story of love and transformation. It is a welcome addition to the growing genre of Native American fiction for teens. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Dial, 192p., Ages 11 to 15.
Gr 5-8-Wabi is an odd owl. For starters, he grows bigger than most horned owls do. Then he realizes he can talk to and understand other creatures. He adopts a wolf pup that becomes a loyal friend and he falls in love with a girl from the nearby Abenaki village that he protects from evil creatures. When his great-grandmother tells him that he has ancestors who were humans who shape-changed to owls, Wabi decides to become human so he can win Dojihla's heart. When his owl-tufted ears give him away, he leaves the village. On his quest to discover his true self, he encounters several nonhuman monsters; rescues a wolf pack from Oldold Woman, who is keeping them captive; and discovers his own true self. Wabi's inquisitive and endearing personality will charm readers. Even when in human form, he thinks and acts like an owl and finds joy and pleasure when his human body can do something he didn't expect, such as kick very hard. His grandmother embodies the adage of wise old owls, dispensing advice and assistance in equal measures but never too much of either at any one time, and readers can see why Wabi falls in love with Dojihla, even if the other young men find her abrasive and compare her to a bobcat. They just haven't watched her as much or as carefully as Wabi has. Give this novel to readers who aren't quite ready for David Clement-Davies's Fire Bringer (2000) or The Sight (2002, both Dutton) or to anyone who enjoys reading about journeys of self-discovery.-Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Bruchac, in top form here, crafts an exhilarating journey tale that not only promotes the value of listening, asking questions and telling stories, but is laced with folkloric elements, heroic deeds, romance, toothy monsters and transformations. Born an owl with oddly pale feathers and the ability to understand all creatures, Wabi finds himself falling in love with Dojihla, a young woman from the local village. Discovering from his wise great-grandmother that he has the power to change his form, he becomes human (though retaining his owl's ears). But when Dojihla rejects his suit, as she has those of all other men, he sorrowfully departs on a quest to discover what became of the wolf pack from which Malsumsis, his oversized best friend, had come. No, the plot doesn't exactly hang together-but readers aren't likely to care that much, as, along the way, Wabi faces one malign, magical swamp or forest creature after another, culminating in a titanic battle to save a repentant Dojihla from a crazed giant bear. Parts of this, particularly the climax, will seem familiar to fans of Michelle Paver's Wolf Brother (2005), but Bruchac gives the story a distinctive Native American cast, and readers won't be able to turn the pages fast enough. (Fantasy. 11-13)