Wolves. Predators of the wild. Stalkers of the forests. Born into rankings and expected to live up to their roles. Blue Boy, the alpha male of his pack, is the largest wolf many have ever seen, and his dream is to have a firstborn son who will take after him in every way. But Lamar is not turning out the way his father hoped. Lamar likes to watch butterflies. He worries if his younger siblings fall behind in the hunt. He has little interest in peacocking in front of other clans. Blue Boy grows increasingly dismayed at Lamar's lack of wolf instincts, and then Lamar does the intolerable: he becomes attracted to a coyote. While the other infractions can be begrudgingly tolerated, this one cannot, and the unity of the pack is in jeopardy. Lamar wants to make his family happy, but is doing what is expected of him worth losing the only true friend he's ever had?
Full of bite and beauty that will make you think of White Fang, then Ferdinand, this story cuts to the heart of what's most important: being true to yourself, and being true to others.
- ISBN-13: 9781481410175
- ISBN-10: 1481410172
- Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: March 2015
- Page Count: 240
- Reading Level: Ages 9-14
- Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.95 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-01-12
- Reviewer: Staff
The designation “firstborn” applies to several characters in Seidler’s animal adventure—the effervescent narrator, Maggie the magpie; Blue Boy, a wolf who accepts Maggie as an unofficial pack member; and Lamar, Blue Boy’s eldest son, who wrestles with familial duties and his unorthodox love for a coyote. After Maggie realizes that she is different from other magpies (“the thought of spending my whole life with Dan and his junk made me shudder”), she takes off to explore the wilderness of Montana and Wyoming just as wolves are being reintroduced to Yellowstone Park. National Book Award finalist Seidler illuminates a world full of beauty (“leaves had broken out of their buds, like butterflies out of their cocoons”), danger, and the struggle to survive: deaths come fast and frequent for predators and prey alike. Themes of self-acceptance, devotion, and integrity resonate as Maggie and others act on wisdom she learns from her first friend, Jackson the crow: “you can’t be loyal to others if you’re not loyal to your own nature first.” A moving acknowledgement of true friendship provides a heartwarming conclusion to this absorbing tale. Ages 9–14. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Mar.)