From the author of the Newbery Medal–winning Julie of the Wolves and its sequel, Julie, comes a third exciting adventure about the wolf pack that saved the life of a young girl when she was lost on the tundra. Julie has returned to her family, but her wolf pack has a story all its own. Fearless but inexperienced Kapu is now the new leader of the pack. He must protect his wolves from the threats of famine and disease and, at the same time, defend himself from bitter rivals, both inside and outside the pack, who are waiting for their chance to overthrow him. The strength of Kapu's leadership will determine not just the well-being of the pack but its very survival.
Jean Craighead George's research and first-hand observation form this engrossing, epic tale that's sure to draw readers into the fascinating world of wolves.
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Jean Craighead George is the author of over eighty books for children and young adults. Her novel Julie of the Wolves won the Newbery Medal in 1973, and her novel My Side of the Mountain was a Newbery Honor Book in 1960. She has continued to write acclaimed picture books and novels that celebrate the natural world. She lives in Chappaqua, New York, and has had over 173 pets in the time she has lived there, among them geese and ducks.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The wolves of the Avalik River ran in and out among the musk oxen. Their ruffs rippled like banners. Ice crystals danced up from their feet. The pack swirled like a twist of wind-blown snow. Their yellow eyes flashed and dimmed in the coming and going of the ice mist. Like the snow, they made no sound.
The musk oxen stopped and stared at the enemy. Then they lowered their shaggy heads and pawed down to the new grass growing under the snow. Their breath rose in steamy clouds and froze on their brows.
Kapu, the young leader of the wolf pack, reared on his hind legs, leaped to point the way, and led his clan to a turquoise-blue rise on the treeless Arctic tundra.
He carried himself proudly, with his chest forward and his head high. His black fur was brushed to a shine by the wind. His body was strongly muscled. He was the leader of the wolf pack that had saved the life of the young Eskimo girl, Miyax--whose English name was Julie Edwards--when she was lost on the Arctic tundra. She, in turn, had saved them by leading them to a new food source during the great caribou famine. The Yupik and Inupiat Eskimos of Kangik called them "Julie's wolf pack."
Kapu was keenly aware of Julie. She was not far away. He whisked his tail. She had read his message to the oxen, for she was no longer afraid that he would kill one. The villagers collected the wool from these sturdy animals to weave into light, warm clothing, and they zealously protected them.
"We are not hunting you," Kapu had said to the oxen with his body movements. "We chase you for the joy of it. We are wolves of the caribou."
Kapu and his followers were having fun. The shaggy herd deciphered this and returned to their grazing. Julie deciphered it and told her father,
Kapugen. He chuckled and slipped his arm around her shoulders. The two walked quietly home.
Kapu wagged his tail. Chasing the oxen was a fine wolf joke. His rime-gray mate, Aaka, playfully spanked the ground with her forepaws, her rear end in the air. Zing--the beta, or second in command--enjoyed the joke even more than Kapu. His breathing came faster, and the pupils of his eyes enlarged ever so slightly. He smiled by lifting his lips from his glistening teeth. Pearly-white Silver, Kapu's mother, and her ill-tempered new mate, Raw Bones, also smiled. But Amy, Kapu's night-black daughter, did not get the joke. She was not old enough to know that her pack preferred caribou to musk oxen. Nor did she know that some packs harvest only deer and ignore moose, or harvest moose and caribou and ignore deer. Others take elk; a few take musk oxen. When the Avalik River Pack had a choice, they were wolves of the caribou. Wolves have their cultures.
The adolescent Amy studied the curled horns and bony brows of the musk oxen, then looked at her regal father. If he thought the chase was fun, then she did, too. She wagged her tail.
Amy could not possibly know that her pack were caribou wolves. She had been born in a caribou famine. These big Arctic deer had failed to come to Avalik territory for many years. The pack had taken what food they could find--a musk ox killed by a grizzly bear, rabbits, lemmings. Late in the fall they were able to add an occasional moose to their diet, but by March of her first year Amy's pack was starving again. The moose were gone. The wolves grew thin. They tired easily. When the breeding season arrived that month, her parents did not mate. Aaka, her mother, was undernourished. There had not been enough food for her to develop healthy puppies.
The rangy, self-important Raw Bones knew well that the pack had not had enough to eat for years. Nevertheless, he approached Silver to start their family. Kapu rushed to him. Hair rising on his back, ears erect and pointed forward, Kapu talked to him in the wolf language of posturing. Then he lifted his head above him and rumbled a dark authoritative growl that said plainly, "No pups." It is inherent in the leader of the wolf pack that he uses his judgment and makes such a decision. Raw Bones ignored him. He stepped closer to Silver.
Kapu bared his teeth and drew the corners of his mouth forward. His forehead wrinkled.
Raw Bones challenged this reprimand with a jaw snap. Kapu grabbed the back of his neck but did not clamp down with his bone-crushing jaws. He did not need to. He was saying, "I am the leader. No pups." Raw Bones drew his ears back and close to his head. He pulled his tail between his legs and lowered his body. This posture said, "You are the leader. I submit to you."
Obediently Raw Bones slunk off to the edge of the pack in the manner of a chastised wolf citizen. But he did not mean it.
He glanced back to see if Kapu was looking at him. If not, he would sneak-attack him. Kapu was looking. He displayed one canine tooth. It shone lethal white against the black of his lips. "Don't dare," it said. Raw Bones lay down. Rumbling sounds of peevishness rolled in his chest. He did not like being dominated, especially by a younger male.
Kapu did not completely relax. Raw Bones was his rival. He wanted to be leader of the Avaliks, Kapu's pack. He had been alpha male wolf of the Upper Colville River Pack for many years. Then the famine struck. One by one the members of his pack starved to death until he was the only one left alive. When his new mate, Silver, joined him, they survived on rabbits and other small mammals and waited for the famine to end and the feasting to begin.
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Canada, Limited, Scarborough, ON, Canada, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. Ships fast!. Bookseller Inventory # 003637