Consider the following story:
A young man, born and raised in the backcountry of Northeast Oregon, one day decides to leave his family and set out on foot in search of adventure. Over a period of months that stretches into years, he crosses the entire state, eventually crossing from Oregon into Northeast California. Roaming the forests in the shadow of Mt. Shasta on his own for quite some time, he eventually meets a mysterious dark-haired woman. They fall quickly in love and eventually start a family.
Meanwhile back in Oregon, the young man’s aging mother dies. His old father remarries a physically disabled woman and the two eventually have two children of their own. However one day the father and his new family are accused of a crime for which the evidence is only circumstantial. Without any trial, the father, his wife, and their two children are pursued by the authorities, and eventually shot and killed in cold blood.
Sounds like quite a compelling tale, doesn’t it? Now, substitute Grey Wolves for all the human characters in it and you have the story of Journey; the Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History. Written by Beckie Elgin, an author whose first-hand experiences with wolves stretches back into her very childhood, the book recounts the life of the seventh wolf GPS tracking collared in Oregon who became the first of his species to be recorded in California in over one hundred years.
Crafted in a clever, entertaining, and very informative format that intertwines a fictionalized narrative of Journey’s life with a wealth of information about Grey Wolf biology, the work of the people who study them, and a number of other relevant topics, Journey can easily be read by adults as well as older children. And as the fictionalized narrative is set apart in text boxes, divided into life stage sections, and spread amongst the generous number of illustrations and photographs, it is also a superb story to read to younger children to introduce them to accurate information about creatures that are so often misunderstood, and from such misunderstanding (as well as raw prejudice and determined unrepentant ignorance) unjustifiably feared.
In this present age, where such misinformation and ignorance causes the many of the same people who are willing to pay substantial sums of money in order to visit a location such as Yellowstone National Park and react with unbridled glee at the sighting of a Grey Wold in the distance, to then return back home and call for the extermination of all wolves at the unproven accusation of one having killed a cow or sheep, or simply want the opportunity to kill one for the perverse thrill of it, any authoritatively-written book capable of reaching a wide audience, including children, with the message of what truly remarkable creatures wolves are and why they should be viewed with awe rather than fear is a book worthy of recommendation.
This I most heartily do, and sincerely hope that Journey may find its way into as many hands as possible so that perhaps one day the sighting of a wolf anywhere will be cause not for fear but rather for rejoicing and reverence
Author: Beckie Elgin
Publisher: Inkwater Press
Pages: 120 pp., with numerous illustrations and photographs
Published: October 2016
In accordance with Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR Part 255, it is disclosed that the copy of the book read in order to produce this review was provided gratis to the reviewer by the publisher.