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Annotation: Runt, the smallest wolf cub in the litter, seeks to prove himself to his father King and the rest of the pack and to earn a new name.
Catalog Number: #4701923
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Dell Yearling
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition Date: 2002
Pages: 144
Availability: Indefinitely Out of Stock
ISBN: 0-618-21261-2
ISBN 13: 978-0-618-21261-3
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
Runt is the name given to the smallest and last-born pup in the litter by King, his father. Although treated kindly by his family and the rest of the pack, Runt constantly feels the need to prove himself. His sisters and brothers are each named for a particular skill or attribute, like Hunter, Helper, and Sniffer. Runt doesn't seem able to measure up and worries that he will always be an outsider, tolerated but not needed. He experiences uncertainty and pain and loss as the pack strives for survival. Although it does not seem to be Bauer's intention, these very human emotions are the most successful element of the work. The plot is overly contrived, setting up a neat lesson about the habits and needs of wolves, including hunting practices and dangers, fighting for the position of pack leader, and relationships to humans and other creatures. In an afterword, the author provides much additional information about wolves and their habits and strongly indicates that her sole purpose in creating Runt's story is to enhance readers' empathy for these endangered creatures. She also includes a bibliography that will lead readers to accurate information about wolves as well as fictional works that succeed far better than this one. (Fiction. 8-10)
Publishers Weekly

Fans of Jean Craighead George's Julie of the Wolves and its successors will welcome Bauer's (On My Honor) tightly plotted, swiftly paced tale of a wolf pack. Runt, the diminutive last-born of a litter of pups, hopes to prove his worth to his father, King, and acquire a nobler name, like those of his littermates, Leader, Sniffer, Runner and Thinker. But his attempts backfire: he gets lost after following King and the others when they hunt for food, and loses his way again when he decides to brave a fierce storm outdoors rather than take refuge with his siblings in the pack's cave. His efforts to capture a porcupine have especially dire consequences: kind humans remove the painful quills from Runt's muzzle, after which most of the pack avoids him ("You've been with themagain," an older brother rebukes him). Adding further dimension to the novel are such ancillary characters as a raven who advises Runt, a kind older sibling and the deposed former leader of the pack, Bider, who is also King's nemesis. As Bauer notes in an afterword, her view of wolves is based on scientists' observations (except for their ability to communicate in English). While some may wince at the descriptions of the wolves' hunting expeditions, the author encourages an informed sympathy not only for her underhero but, more generally, for wolves in the wild. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)

School Library Journal
Gr 4-6 Runt is the smallest in a litter of wolves born in the forests of northern Minnesota. The pups join their father, mother, and two yearlings in a pack that is completed by Bider, an adult male accepted into the group after he was forced out of another one. Each littermate seems to have a destined role, but for Runt the future is an unknown. He tries mightily to keep up with his siblings, but much of the time he tries too hard, doesn't think ahead, or makes mistakes. An encounter with a porcupine lands him among humans and proves fatal to one of his brothers. Sensing the pack's disappointment, Runt withdraws, looking for a chance to earn his father's approval. Throughout, Bider is watching, waiting for his chance to cause discord and disruption in the pack. When this occurs, it also provides an opportunity for Runt to rejoin his family. Beautifully written and faithful to wolves' behavior (explained in an afterword), this book will be a good companion to Jean Craighead George's "Julie of the Wolves" series (HarperCollins). Bauer portrays the wolves' place in the natural world with compassion, respect, and warmth, but this is also the story of any unique individual's struggle to find his or her niche. Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Born with his father's black fur and white marking, Runt is the fifth and last wolf pup in the family. He's also the smallest, and his size dictates his standing in the pack. Though he is always last, he's both curious about his world and determined to prove himself to King, his father. Unfortunately, his efforts earn him only disapproval, which culminates when, with the help of dreaded humans, he survives an encounter with a porcupine that ultimately kills his brother. Not until Bider, a white male, challenges King for leadership of the pack is Runt able to prove his worth. Runt's determination rescues the pack and earns him a new name, Singer. With an economy of words, Bauer precisely and vividly conveys the wolves' wild world--their surroundings as well as their hierarchical relationships, behavior, and culture. She also provides more about wolves in an appended discussion that tackles assumptions about wolves and expresses hope that the story will increase empathy for the complex, fascinating creatures. Her passion for the animals is evident throughout this compelling, poignant story. There's a ready-made audience for this, Bauer's first novel about animals. A bibliography of books for adults and for young people is appended.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Word Count: 21,280
Reading Level: 4.8
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.8 / points: 3.0 / quiz: 62567 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.3 / points:7.0 / quiz:Q31870
Lexile: 690L

In this beautifully written story set in the north woods of Minnesota, four healthy wolf pups-Leader, Sniffer, Runner, and Thinker-are born one spring.And then one final, undersized pup emerges-Runt.Despite his size, Runt manages to keep up with his brothers and sisters and learn the ways of the pack.But he finds it impossible to please his father, the pack's leader, and gradually withdraws from the others.When he ventures into forbidden human territory, Runt at last comes to understand his mistakes and to recognize his own worth. Award-winning author Marion Dane Bauer combines her gift for evocative writing with her in-depth knowledge of wolves to create a compact tale that has the power of an epic.Like the best animal stories, it reflects our own world and shows us what it means to be alive.Afterword.

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