A 13-year-old boy uses warrior knowledge to escape real-life trouble in this fast-moving, youngadult novel.
When Johnny Bear Child and his family move to rural Addison, Calif., he quickly encounters three bullies—Skinny, Chub and their ringleader Larry—who constantly hassle Johnny and make fun of his Blackfeet heritage and traditional braids. Alienated at school and at a loss for how to end the harassment, Johnny hikes into the nearby mountains to search for a medicine dream and advice from his dead great-grandfather. Johnny’s ancestor, once a Blackfeet warrior, gives him a special feather and his warrior name, Little Wolf. He warns that in order to end the incessant bullying, Johnny must behave like a strong leader of a pack of coyotes. Soon after, a rescue team, led by Johnny’s beloved dog Whiterobe, finds Johnny dehydrated, hypothermic and semiconscious after days in the hills. Once he returns to school Sarah Benson, a classmate who lives on a neighboring ranch, befriends Johnny. As this burgeoning relationship develops, Johnny and Sarah make plans to explore a newly discovered cave in hopes of finding rumored lost treasure. Yet when the pair, along with Whiterobe, set out on their adventure, the unwanted bullies follow them and trouble quickly ensues. Unsurprisingly, Johnny is forced to use his coyote-like cunning to save the group—in the process turning his tormentors into admirers. Despite the story’s predictable plot and outcome, Babcock has rendered vivid characters whose struggles—dealing with bullies, making new friends, feeling like an outsider—are relatable for most readers. The story unfolds at a quick pace and with a readable style, and the author can be applauded for including enough conflict along the way to keep readers interested.
An engaging read with a sweet message at its core.
Kirkus Discoveries, Nielsen Business Media, 770 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Babcock has written an exciting and interesting story that has characters and dialogue that are believable. She covers a lot of the Blackfeet Indian traditions as well as serious issues like the cycle of abuse and bullying. She does this a real way without being too graphic. Her descriptions paint a picture that makes the reader see the people and the places in the story. This is a nicely written novel and middle school students should find it a good read!
This is a great book! There is so much bullying in schools, it would help kids and also give them a lesson in diversity.