The Wonder of William Grill, Seton and Shackleton
I don’t remember many of the books I read when I was a child. I read furiously and fast. However, something was triggered after I’d finished reading William Grill’s latest information picture book, The Wolves of Currumpaw
The fervour to the reality
There has been a lot of fuss about this title. Sometimes this happens when a writer’s first book has been acclaimed, like Grill’s Shackleton’s Journey. I was skeptical. However, ‘The Wolves of Curumpaw’ is totally absorbing. Faded, native American ‘historical’ style illustrations feature. They are almost diagrammatic in approach.They complement the emotional draw of this story.
A remarkable story
A Sherlock/ Superman wolf King of Curumpaw, Lobo, holds the last New Mexican pack against Edward Seton, wolf hunter for hire. I was so caught up in the story that I could barely face the final chapters. The twist in the tale is encouraging, surprising and positive. It led me to research further about North American wolves, and Seton himself.
I learned that he was an early influence on Lord Baden-Powell forming the Scout association. Seton was the first Boy Scout of America leader. His granddaughter was Anya Seton, author of ‘Katherine’ a story I loved as a child (a precocious child).
Back to Shackleton
Reading ‘The Wolves of Curumpaw’ led me to reread William Grill’s ‘Shackleton’s Journey’. This tells another seemingly impossible struggle. The Endurance expedition appeared to include absurdities, also. There was the construction of the boat (an artisan design, made in Norway, and bought for only £45,000 in today’s money). An ability to sing was a prerequisite for any crew member, too! Somehow, in picture book form, William Grill manages to impress the enormity of ‘against all odds’ survival of Shackleton’s crew. The leadership and camaraderie were exceptional, beyond anything in a Boy Scout manual!
My copy of ‘The Wolves of Currumpaw’ was intended for Jake’s birthday parcel. Luckily for me, it is too special to give away. Jake requires a second copy!. Mine will take its rightful place beside its equally lauded predecessor, ‘Shackleton’s Journey.’ Both deserve their plaudits. The wonder of William Grill, Seton and Shackleton should be read, shared and realised! Bronnie