________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 3 . . . .September 28, 2007


Cry Wolf.

Edo van Belkom.
Toronto, ON: Tundra, 2007.
184 pp., pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 978-0-88776-818-7.

Subject Heading:

Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.

Review by Mary Thomas.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



They all turned in time to see the girl's eyes flutter open. She had turned her head and was looking directly at them. And then her eyes went wide at the realization of what she was looking at - three human-like forms, covered with hair from head to foot, with pointed ears, sharp claws, and fangs.

"Great!" moaned Harlan. "What do we do now?'

That's a good question, thought Tora. A very excellent question.

No one, it seemed, had an answer.


And that's when Tora was suddenly struck with an idea.

"Argus," she said, her voice full of assurance and self-confidence. "You carry Angelina to the hospital as fast as you can."

Argus nodded without question.

"And Harlan, you go back to the house and get some clothes for Argus."

There was a puzzled expression on Harlan's face, as if he didn't understand what he was hearing.

"I want you to get Argus's thick wool sweater, one of the ranger's old fur hats, a pair of boots - the mukluks in the back hall - and the dirty brown pants that are hanging in the garage."

Harlan still looked confused. "Why?" he asked.

Tora's heart sank at the question. Harlan hadn't questioned her when she'd sent him to scare off the searchers, but now it seemed like he was challenging her authority.


One of the problems with sequels is that of filling in those readers who have not read the previous books with the essential background (without discouraging them from reading the earlier volumes, should they feel so inclined), while not putting off those who have. Van Belkom manages very well. On page 3, there is a passing reference to 'the pack's secret,' and on page 5, the fact that Harlan had fought the school bully in a darkened room which had 'allowed him to partially transform himself into a werewolf without being seen.' And there we are with the necessary information that we are dealing with a family of werewolves who, in their human forms, attend high school and have troubles with bullies and with keeping their lycanthropic natures secret. Of course, if you had read the previous two books, Wolf Pack and Lone Wolf, you knew this already, but that is okay. The scene has also been set for the continuation of the action of the book: Noble, the alpha male of the group, is poisoned (page 7), thus depriving the pack of its usual leader, and several of their classmates seem unduly suspicious of their out-of-school persona.

     The resulting story is full of action but also interesting bits of character development as Tora establishes her position as leader in Noble's absence, asserting her domination over her two brothers. As the excerpt above shows, she isn't as diplomatic about it as she might be--and there really isn't any reason why she shouldn't have explained her reasoning just a bit--but she is clever and inventive, and the job gets done. The lost girl is saved, and their secret, while now known by at least two more people, is at least not common knowledge, and those two have reason to feel that having a few will intentioned lycanthropes in the community could actually be to its advantage. Acceptance, rather than secrecy, should make possible better personal relations with their human contemporaries.

      The plot has holes. For example, why should the first batch of searchers who are close to the lost child not be led to find her, rather than scared off so that the pack has to accomplish the rescue itself? Is the character shift on the part of the lost girl's sister from vindictive to grateful a reasonable basis on which to hope to maintain their wolfish anonymity? Never mind. It's a good story, and Tora's not having explained her idea makes for a fine denouement. Let's hear it for the werewolves!


Mary Thomas works in an elementary school library in Winnipeg, MB, and has never noticed any tendency on the part of the students to transform into wolves. But then, libraries are not threatening places.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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