The Eye of the Wolf


‘The pupil blazes like fire as it fills the eye. But no matter how fat it gets, the boy never looks away.’ Blue Flame is angry with the boy, intrigued, yet furious. Why does the boy stare at him? After all, he’s retreated, pacing ‘the length of the wire fencing.‘ What does the boy hope to gain by staring at the wolf? Might he see back before the wolf’s capture, when he was Blue Smoke, serious cub to Black Flame, guardian to the glorious Shiny Straw?

What of the boy? As he gazes into The Eye of the Wolf, his story emerges. It is a story of bitter experience, betrayal, loss and travel across continents. It is the story of communing with animals, trust and hope. So, what might he bring Blue Flame? Thereafter, what does Blue Flame offer Africa?

The Eye of the Wolf is a magnificent and necessary, empathetic and wonderful book that Bookwagon is proud to sell. We urge you to look deep into the gaze and know the stories.

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The Eye of the Wolf

Daniel Pennac, translated by Sarah Ardizzone, illustrated by Max Grace

(Walker Books)

The Eye of the Wolf sees the boy watching him. It seems that the boy can see deep inside him and read his memories, realise his hurt. The wolf, Blue Smoke, does not trust humans. In his infancy, his mother told him, ‘Humans? Two legs and a gun.’ During that time his pack were hunted and tracked down relentlessly for his sister, Shiny Straw, ‘like a ray of gold’. Blue Smoke remembers through the boy’s entrapping gaze. It seems as though the boy draws him back to the flames where Black Flame ‘teaches her little ones‘, long before Blue Smoke’s capture…
Yet, what of the boy? Africa? What is his story? Thereafter, what might the wolf see within the boy’s eye that watches him? For example, who is Saucepans and the trader with whom Africa travelled? What happened to the shepherd? How did this boy travel to this place? What stories does he hide?
The Eye of the Wolf feels like a long held gaze. We are captive within the knowledge shared between wolf and boy. It is a truly mesmerising, unique story with a grip few books have; another I suggest might be The Murderer’s Ape. Bookwagon recommends this poignant allegory of hope, love and trust.

Winner of the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation


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