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Faelan the Wolf: Odd Wolf Out by Juliette MacIver

Faelan is the odd one out in his wolf clan - he would rather befriend other animals than eat them. His best friend is a skunk called Flora, after all. The trouble is that the heir of the dying wolf pack despises Faelan. Life is about to get very difficult for the young grey wolf as he embarks on a hair-raising quest.

Odd Wolf Out is the first of three funny and full-of-heart adventures in this new fantasy series about a vegetarian wolf. Faelan grows vegetables, nurtures fire and plays the harp.

One day he encounters a chicken called Avian, a clever and courageous bird who is on a mission to save her flock.

Wellington author Juliette MacIver is better known for her picture books - the Marmaduke Duck series, That's Not A Hippopotamus, and most recently, Duck Goes Meow, among many others. The Faelan the Wolf series is her first foray into middle-grade fiction, and it is a wonderful book that has instant appeal.

There's a nice theme throughout the book, that MacIver imbues without being preachy. Faelan faces cruelty from his peers, but he stands true to himself. Friendship, belonging, resilience and social pressures are all part of Faelan's life, as they are to the intended reader.

MacIver adds touches of humour too and her descriptive sentences help readers build a strong understanding of the world Faelan lives within.

The first book in the series is very much set up to set the scene. There are a lot of characters, but the more you read, the more readers will get to know the cast.

Sometimes the pacing felt a bit slow, but again, it is the first in the series so it's setting up a solid foundation for more action in the subsequent stories.

MaIver ends the book with a strong hook, leaving readers desperate to learn if Faelan will make sense of Granny Beowulf's prophecy and how Avian and fire fit within the puzzle.

With short snappy chapters and a cast of delightful animals, Odd Wolf Out is a fun, fantasy series perfect for younger readers.

Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell

Scholastic New Zealand


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