by Jean Craighead George


From KIRKUS - starred review:

Lush, naturalistic paintings and gentle, carefully chosen words celebrate the return of wolves to the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. Longtime collaborators George and Minor seem perfectly suited to tell the story of the elimination of the species there by 1926 and its successful reintroduction since 1995. Regular repetition of the title phrase (or “the wolves were gone”) adds a poetic cadence to George’s text, which emphasizes the importance of gray wolves to the web of life in the park. Minor’s watercolor-and-gouache illustrations have texture and depth, focusing closely on individual species—moose, ravens, vesper sparrows, buffalo, beaver, badger, bear and more—in the context of the spectacle of that vast wilderness. This timely, beautiful picture book appears just as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prepares to remove the Northern Rocky Mountain population of gray wolves from the list of endangered and protected species, a hopeful indicator of a wrong made right. For reading aloud or reading alone, this is a splendid way to share an appreciation for the natural world.

From BOOKLIST - starred review:

… George writes about each of the changes caused by the wolves’ return in simple, rhythmic, informative prose.  Adding to the book’s appeal are Minor’s finely detailed illustrations, featuring spectacularly rendered animals in the foreground of the bold, western landscapes.  Together the words and pictures make for a highly effective and enjoyable explanation of how the presence of one animal can profoundly affect an ecosystem.


An uplifting, lyrical story of how wolves were returned to Yellowstone Park after having been aggressively hunted throughout the United States. …  Minor's realistic illustrations in natural tones give depth to the sense of joy one experiences through seeing the wolves and other animals restored to a balance of nature. The art, some full page, some full spread, captures life in the park, with its bears, birds, bison, and beavers, its bees, butterflies, and dragonflies. Almost every paragraph ends with the simple but effective refrain, "The wolves were back." Although this is not a detailed account have how the animals live, it is full of facts that children will enjoy as they reflect on the flora and fauna of the area, and on the need to protect our wildlife. This would be a great book for reading aloud, as well as for independent enjoyment.

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