Monday, January 2, 2017

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: THE WOLF WILDER by Katherine Rundell

US Cover
I'm back, after a hectic December, and have a treat with which to start 2017. I hope you enjoy it!

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell (Bloomsbury Children's September 2015)

What It's About (via Goodreads):
Feodora and her mother live in the snowbound woods of Russia, in a house full of food and fireplaces. Ten minutes away, in a ruined chapel, lives a pack of wolves. Feodora's mother is a wolf wilder, and Feo is a wolf wilder in training. A wolf wilder is the opposite of an animal tamer: it is a person who teaches tamed animals to fend for themselves, and to fight and to run, and to be wary of humans.

When the murderous hostility of the Russian Army threatens her very existence, Feo is left with no option but to go on the run. What follows is a story of revolution and adventure, about standing up for the things you love and fighting back. And, of course, wolves.

UK Cover

Opening Lines:

"Once upon a time, a hundred years ago, there was a dark and stormy girl.
The girl was Russian, and although her hair and eyes and fingernails were dark all the time, she was stormy only when she thought it absolutely necessary. Which was fairly often.
Her name was Feodora."

Five Things to Love: 

  1. Setting. I love stories set in Russia, especially in the snow.
  2. The character of Feo. She is brave, determined, and has an incredible bond with the wolves she is wilding
  3. The wolves. They are powerful forces and, although the idea is for them to be brought back to their wildness after spending time being accoutrements to the Russian aristocracy, they are fiercely protective of their "wilder."
  4. The other children in the novel. They include a boy soldier who wants to be a ballet dancer and who defects to accompany Feo and the wolves, as well as a band of peasants, lovingly described. Their entry in the novel brings both companionship and comedy, with Feo on the run and fearing for her life.
  5. The writing style. It is written to sound almost like a fable. There are beautiful descriptions--here's an example: "The girl would have been extraordinary whatever the weather. A blood-red cloak, freshly washed, flapped behind her. Her forearms, from elbow joint to wrist, were covered in scratches and bruises, but her eyes were gold. The set of her chin suggested she might have slain a dragon before breakfast. The look in her eyes suggested she might, in fact, have eaten it."
About the Author:
Katherine Rundell was born in 1987 and grew up in Africa and Europe. In 2008 she was elected a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Her first book, The Girl Savage, was born of her love of Zimbabwe and her own childhood there; her second, Rooftoppers, was inspired by summers working in Paris and by night-time trespassing on the rooftops of All Souls. She is currently working on her doctorate alongside an adult novel. TWITTER
She recently wrote an article in The New York Times about tightrope walking. There's also an interesting article on her published in 2014 by The (London) Daily Telegraph.

Katherine Rundell atop All Souls College, Oxford
(photo by Andrew Crowley)


  1. Sounds like a great read with the wolves and winter setting--perfect for this time of year. I love Russia as a setting too.

  2. Very intriguing story line and the setting certainly enhances that. I've added it to my pile of books to read in 2017. I'm glad you survived the holidays. Have a Happy New Year!

  3. this looks really good, added to my TBR pile!

  4. Ooh, I love the lines you quoted. Lovely descriptions, yes, but also some sly humor.

    Novels set in Russia are a favorite of mine. Have you read the YA Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo? It's a fantasy-version of Russia.

  5. I love wolves! This one sounds like one for me. And I love that there's a character who's a soldier, but wants to become a ballet dancer!

  6. This sounds like a terrific book! I have a thing about wolves; they are truly wonderful creatures. And the writing sample that opens the book has be hooked right away. The whole theme sounds fantastic. One for my TBR stack.

  7. A delightful twist on old Bulwer Lytton's opening line!

  8. This does sound really good. Few sounds like a terrific character. Thanks for the suggestion.


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