“Firstborn” by Tor Seidler

The Plot In Five Sentences Or Less:  Maggie is a magpie born on a ranch in southwestern Montana.  Unsatisfied with her narrow life, she takes up with a pack of wolves who have recently been reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park.  Led by the alpha named Blue Boy, Maggie and the wolves struggle to survive and carve out their territory in this new land.  Blue Boy’s son Lamar challenges his father’s wishes by falling in love with a coyote and threatening the purity of the bloodline.  Threats both inside and outside the pack will test the bonds of these wolves to the limit.

My Take: Much of Firstborn is caught up with portraying the various tense dynamics among the wolves: the rupture of the pack when the alpha is challenged for dominance, the friction between father and son, the clash with a neighboring pack, etc.  This is all set against the larger story of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park. Seidler deftly explores this controversial program and the great toll that it takes on the wolves that are caught up in it.

Fans of the Wolves of Beyond by Lasky series will appreciate this book and in general I thought that this was an excellent recommendation for elementary aged readers looking for animal fiction.  Librarians may want to be aware that there is a good deal of animal violence in this book before recommending it.  Ages 9-12.

One Interesting Note About the Author:  According to his website, Tor traces his love of storytelling back to his childhood when his stepfather and brother would spin fantastic yarns involving animals.

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