I have always loved wolves. Well, ever since the time I was a freshman in high school and had to write a huge final paper for my first ever Environmental Science class on Gray Wolves (Thanks, Mr Streko!). It was a killer paper. Not in that I wrote anything amazing, but rather, the writing of this four-topic massive research paper about killed me.
It may be due to learning so much about these creatures, but it has long been a dream of mine to be in wilderness and hear the wolves calling. These days I dream about camping somewhere wild with my son. While I have yet to spend time somewhere far from civilization with my kid, I was able to share with him the book The Wolves are Back, by Jean Craighead George.
This is an easy-to-read, poetic, and informative picture book. It briefly tells of the loss of wolf packs in Yellowstone, and then in more detail, the story of their return. The essential idea is that when the wolves returned, so did the balance of the ecosystem. Like all good nonfiction picture books, the pages turn easily, and the facts are woven into the threads of a rounded, intriguing real-life story.
Beyond the story though, I found the illustrations by Wendell Minor to be spectacular. Each page is truly a work of art. At one point I stopped reading and just soaked in the images of the vast hillsides, flashing back to a time long ago when I stood in Yellowstone myself- just before the time the wolves were returned. Then, I was weak in the knees knowing that I was just one small speck in the story of this Earth. Now, I marveled at the same thing, feeling as if I were standing in that field again. Only this time, there was the added beauty of seeing a wolf in the picture. Someday I'll stand in that real field again, with my son, and we will stop on the hillside and listen. We'll take a deep breath of the wilderness and we'll give thanks that indeed, the wolves are back.
It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)