Onyx: The Wolf Who Found a New Way to be a Leader; Vita Murrow, illustrated by Anneli Bray
Onyx: The Wolf Who Found a New Way to be a Leader is part of a new series of books based on heroic animals entitled ‘True Stories of Animal Heroes’ and is published by the brilliant Frances Lincoln Children’s.
Wolves. Fierce, protective and territorial…at least that’s how most were, but one wolf pup saw things somewhat differently. Onyx wasn’t like the other pups in his pack. He wasn’t into playing games or squabbling over food, he was different to his brothers and sisters in every way. They were strong and bold, he was weak and shy. He was the runt of the litter. For what Onyx may have lacked in physical stature he made up for in his wolf-smarts and when it was time for him to head out into the wild to find a pack of his own, he took with him a new way of thinking…
Onyx is based on the actual rehoming of wolves to Yellowstone Park in 1995, seventy years after the last wolf had disappeared from the area. This is a real underdog story that defies all we think of wolves and how they go about their lives in the animal kingdom. Known for living in packs and being protective of their home turf, or in this case their ridges, one wolf did things differently and the result was something rather special. Not a ridge for a single pack of wolves but a ridge for any wolf who ‘dared to be different’. A place for a community of like-minded wolves who were able to thrive and live in harmony together.
There are so many important lessons in this short read. Onyx may be a wolf but so many of his qualities and attributes are wonderful messages for children. He is open to ideas, he shares, he is kind and empathises with others - what more could we want from a wolf. And he teaches the younger wolf pups about respect and that you don’t have to be fierce and scary to be a leader.
The illustrations featured throughout are just adorable and only on one or two occasions do the wolves come across as scary. In fact, they look so friendly and playful and fluffy that you’ll just want to reach out and stroke the pages. Two extra pages at the back of the book feature a short history about the wolves in Yellowstone Park and include photographs. There is also a weblink for those readers who want to get involved in supporting wolf projects to ensure that they continue to thrive in the wild.
Recommended for 4+.
With thanks to Frances Lincoln Children’s and Vita Murrow for the advanced reader copy that was received through Netgalley.
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