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The Wolves by Brian J. Heinz: A Children's Book Review

Updated on February 19, 2013

This Hub is dedicated to my oldest Granddaughter: Wolf Girl, aka Olivia.

For the older child, age eight and up, the picture book: Wolves is a realistic read written by author Brian J. Heinz.  Mr. Heinz was previously an elementary science teacher.  His love for wildlife and, “…special warmth for the wolf”, resonated with me as I explored the book.  He is a kindred spirit of Wolf Girl, my granddaughter.

Part of the book’s appeal is its stunning watercolor paintings by award winning artist, Bernie Fuchs.  Fuchs has received over 100 awards for his paintings, and is a member of the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame. 


Wolves is no ordinary children’s book, nor is it necessarily the right book for a younger child, due to the wolves predatory behavior with an elk herd, illustrated with both words and paintings. However, what Heinz succeeds to do is to present the wolf in its natural habitat exhibiting its ordinary behavior.

The wolves in this story are not vicious, ill intended animals that mercilessly kill. In writing this story Mr. Heinz attempts to teach his audience that we must accept nature as she is, and the struggle for survival in all wildlife creatures is one that is becoming exceedingly difficult as man changes the perimeters of their home. This is beautifully explained in the note to the reader by the author in the beginning of the book.

As Mr. Heinz writes, “To save these magnificent animals will take more than repopulation programs, for the real enemy of the wolf is ignorance. By learning more about the true nature of wolves and wiping away the myths that many people still hold in their minds, a new picture of the wolf can emerge.”

The sound of wolves

The April Hubchallenge: Hub #18 of 30
The April Hubchallenge: Hub #18 of 30 | Source

Pahtoo, Leader of the Pack

The storyline of Wolves is about Pahtoo, the leader of his pack, and his obligation to find food for them in order to survive. It is winter, and they have not eaten in three days. However, they have persistently followed the trail of an elk herd and, with stealth and skill, will wait for the opportunity to weed out a weak elk.

Heinz’s words flow in poetic description across water painted pages. “The mountains ache with a deep chill, and their rugged shoulders huddle over the valley below. A gray cloud creeps over the peaks and rolls slowly, hugging the ground, down the slopes…it carries a thousand tons of snow. And it carries the wolves.”

It is the beauty of the descriptive words, which enhances the subtle colors of the pictures, that brings to life this story. Initially, I brought it home from the library to use as a reference. In the end, it captured not only my attention, but my heart, and a decision to add this book to Wolf Girl’s growing collection was made.

My hope is to bring attention to the beauty of this book and entice parents and teachers to bring it into their homes and classrooms. I’ve included a favorite song of mine by Cheryl Wheeler.

Howl at the Moon


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