Friday, April 17, 2015

Two wolves by Tristan Bancks

"Ben ran at his dad and tackled him to the sandy ground near the smoldering fire pit.  He wanted to stop but he couldn't.  He grabbed at the notebook like a wild animal, screaming as Dad tried to get away but Ben wouldn't let him. That notebook was the one place Ben could be himself."

In his notebook Ben has written :
Grey nylon bag, Black handles
The new old car

Ben and his sister are on the run with their parents April and Ray Silver.  Ben is full of questions most of which are unanswered and even unspoken as his father's short fuse and nasty bad temper leave him feeling deep fear, sadness and confusion.   Tristan Bancks, through his main character Ben, slowly reveals the full story of why the family have abandoned their home and fled to a remote bush cabin.

Two Wolves has been short listed for the 2015 CBCA Younger Readers Award.  This story is an action packed thriller and with an interesting moral dilemma but I feel it is best suited to Grade Six students because at times the violence by Ben's father is quite distressing.

Review with the Trailer here.  It is amazing - so realistic!  I also recommend you dip into the Reading Time Review.   Here is the Author web site and a comprehensive set of Teacher notes.

You might also enjoy Chance of Safety, Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce or Toby Alone.  I also hope to re-read Toby's Millions by Morris Lurie first published in 1982 and by coincidence a CBCA honor book in 1983 and My side of the Mountain which was an inspiration for Two Wolves.

I especially loved little seven year old Olive.  "She was small, white blonde, seven years old, one of the smartest kids Ben knew.  She had already read The Hobbit by herself.  For three weeks afterwards she refused to speak unless people called her Gandalf."

At the end of Two Wolves I am left with some unanswered questions especially about Ben's mum and I do wish the wisdom of the quote from the first page had actually informed Ben and his actions but overall this is a fast paced book which will be popular with my senior students.

An old man tells his grandson
One evening that there is a
battle raging inside him, inside
all of us.  A terrible battle
between two wolves.

One wolf is bad - pride, envy, jealousy,
greed, guild, self-pity, the other wolf is
good - kindness, hope, love, service
truth, humility.

The child asks 'Who will win?'
The Grandfather answers simply,
'The one you feed.'

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