9 Great Books on Wolves

Wolf Almanac, New and Revised: A Celebration Of Wolves And Their World

Robert Busch

In his preface, Robert Busch writes of his “...hope that the the book would serve to fill the gap between wolf myths and wolf reality with facts.” Written in an informative but accessible style, this widely respected book on wolves covers virtually all aspects of these magnificent creatures: their evolution, distribution, anatomy, behavior, and their impact on human culture. Busch then reviews the history of wolf-human interactions including the trapping for furs, hunting, conservation, and reintroduction programs. If you only own one book on wolves, Wolf Almanac should be it. Be sure to purchase the “new and revised” edition (2007); it includes new photographs, updated information on the wolves of Yellowstone, and a more recent survey of wolf status around the world.


National Geographic Readers: Wolves

Laura Marsh

The wolf book of choice for the 5- to 7-year-old set. If your reader is reading on their own, but not ready for longer, word-heavy, information-packed books, this is an excellent choice. The pictures are engaging, and the text is well presented. There are quizzes, graphics, and sidebars for facts to break up the reading. The information is accurate without being too simplified.


Wolf: Spirit of the Wild

Diana Landau

Full of sublime photography, expressive illustrations, accurate descriptions, and first person accounts, Wolf: Spirit of the Wild gets our vote for best coffee table book on the wolf. The book is not a reference; rather it explores all things “wolf.” Stories and myths about these noble creatures from around the world, poetry, interviews with wolf biologists, and first person accounts of wolves all combined with art reproductions and photography by preeminent wildlife photographers. The perfect gift for the wolf lover, but be careful when you get it - you might want to keep it for yourself.

 


National Geographic Kids Mission: Wolf Rescue: All About Wolves and How to Save Them

Kitson Jazynka

Suitable for the 9- to 12-year-old reader, this National Geographic Kids selection is a well-designed book that covers the wolf’s physical features,  social behaviors, pack structure, feeding habits, and habitats. Interviews with conservationists and field scientists, quality maps, cartoons, and exemplary photographs add to the engaging layout. There are “rescue” activities in each chapter that reinforce learning. The activities can be completed alone, in groups, or with an adult and vary in difficulty and complexity. What we like best about the book is the underlying lesson that everyone can make a difference and that science is something that one does, not something that you just read about. We recommend the library binding for its durability.
 


Never Cry Wolf: Amazing True Story of Life Among Arctic Wolves

Farley Mowat

Originally published in 1963, Never Cry Wolf is arguably one of the most humorous, widely-read, and effective conservation narratives ever written. This book changed popular opinion about the wolf from a despised predator in fairy tales to the majestic creature many consider them today. The Russian translation of the book led to a Soviet ban on wolf hunting in its natural habitat. Never Cry Wolf is a first-person memoir of a young game warden sent to the northern Canadian wilderness to study wolf depredation on caribou herds only to discover that the wolves eat only the weak and the old animals; that it was humans that were destroying the caribou herds. The book has been attacked for occasionally faulty science and anthropomorphizing wolves, and these critiques are probably accurate. Mowat has often said that he does not want the facts to get in the way of the truth. Do not read Never Cry Wolf for the science; rather read it for the compelling story and hilarious recounting of Mowat’s misadventures in the Canadian North. The writing style and tone make it appealing for teenagers as well as adults.


Face to Face with Wolves

Jim Brandenburg

Remarkable images by an award-winning photographer in a book targeted at the 7- to 10-year-old reader. The book is a paperback and only 32 pages, but no book we have seen better portrays arctic wolves in their natural habitat. Highly recommended as a “stocking stuffer” or small gift.

 

 


Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation

L. David Mech and Luigi Boitani (Editors)

The definitive reference book on wolves at this time. The various chapter authors bring over 350 person-years of wolf research experience and knowledge to the book, and the editors are the preeminent wolf researchers in the world today. David Mech has been researching and writing about wolves for over 50 years. A bit like a dictionary, few readers will read the book from cover to cover, but anyone wanting comprehensive, accurate, and documented information on wolves needs this book. A more scholarly book than Wolf Almanac (above), Wolves consists of chapters written by experts on that subject. Of particular interest is the chapter on wolf behavior; much of what we thought we knew about pack dynamics turns out to be wrong. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to develop expertise about wolves.


A Wolf Called Romeo

Nick Jans

A true story about an extraordinary wolf that came to be known as Romeo. For seven years, this large black male wolf interacted with residents, and especially dogs, on the outskirts of Juneau, Alaska. Part personal narrative and part science primer on wolves, Jans leads us on a journey from fear to fascination to trust as wolf and humans come to know each other on the boundary of wilderness and civilization. Powerfully and emotionally told, the story of Romeo forces a reevaluation of our own behavior, both as a society and as individuals. A book for all nature lovers.