Journey: Based on the True Story of OR7, the Most Famous Wolf in the West

illus. by Robin James. 32p. Little Bigfoot. Oct. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781632170651.
Gr 1–3—This is the fictionalized account of OR7, the first wolf since 1924 to cross from Oregon into Northern California. The story opens as OR7 is heading into the unknown, leaving his pack and "the sweet-smelling forest of pines and firs [that] had always been home." Fast-forward about a year to a girl and her father having breakfast at the local diner. The topic of conversation among the ranchers centers on news reports that the wolf is heading their way. As Abby and her dad continue reading the article, they learn that biologists have been trying to reintroduce wolves into areas where there are not too many farms or roads. She is hopeful that the wolf will cross the border into California. Meanwhile, the wolf is wandering in the woods, not knowing that he has tripped a hidden motion-sensitive camera. It captures the world's first look at him. Abby is excited, but the locals worry that the wolf will harm their sheep or cows. The wolf continues his journey, now in search of a mate or a pack. Abby has been following his route on the Internet and learns that he has indeed crossed the border into California. Soon, a local radio station holds a contest to name the wolf, and Abby has the winning entry: Journey. The wolf, meanwhile, has formed a temporary pack with some coyotes but eventually meets a lone female wolf who is also on a solo journey. They become mates and soon have a small litter of pups in a wooded area "where there are not too many roads and not too many farms—just right for wolves." The final pages contain a time line of Journey's adventures, real photos taken by hidden cameras and biologists, and a one-page summary on "The Real Journey," who traveled some 2,000 miles in Oregon and California before settling near the Rogue River, just north of the California border. The illustrations are attractive and realistic in nature and rendered digitally.
VERDICT An informative, well-written story useful for units on wolves or nature studies.

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