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Exploring the interdependence of humans and nature, this book tells the tale of the special bond that develops between a Métis boy and an orphaned wolf pup. When David's father arrives home with the pup he explains that the animal must remain nameless and wild. Nevertheless, David calls the pup Smoke and a mutual friendship develops. As the wolf grows and matures, David and his father are resolute in their determination that she must not become captive. Suddenly an unbelievable tragedy strikes the family and David's world is shattered. Sensing his grief, Smoke remains close, even though the wild wolves are calling her. Soon though she is pulled back to the forest but it is too late. As David grieves over Smoke's lifeless body, the reader is left wondering what lesson he will take in his heart from his brief relationship with such a magnificent wild animal.
This book would make an interesting addition to a unit that explores the relationship between humans and nature with an emphasis on how aboriginal cultures view the natural world. Students could interview members of a First Nation community to learn more about their perceptions regarding wildlife and its harvest. A class video could be created with various viewpoints presented. In popular culture the wolf is often portrayed as an evil, vicious animal, whereas this book tells a very different story. Students could investigate 'wolves in the media' and compare and contrast different viewpoints with presentations of the facts. An interesting classroom discussion could also centre on the book's theme of rescuing and bringing a wild animal into a human environment. A class could visit a wildlife rehabilitation facility to learn more about the scientific techniques that are used to heal animals while keeping them wild for release.
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