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'The Winter Dog' is M.C.Holliss's first Callum adventure but is part of her much larger 'Magical History Stories' series. In these books, which are aimed at primary school aged children, the author, herself a former teacher, seeks to introduce historical facts by combining them with fantastical characters, such as dragons, in a way that will entirely grip the imagination. This particular story is starkly and atmospherically illustrated by Sol Hilmarsdottir in monochrome.
The hero, a young Scottish lad named Callum, finds what he thinks is a large black dog lying injured at the side of the road on his way back from school one bitter cold, snowy afternoon in late December. Dragging the creature home on some sacking, he nurses it back to health in spite of his mother's misgivings and their realisation that it is no dog they're sheltering but a wolf, even though wolves had been believed to be extinct in Scotland for many years. A strong bond forms between the boy and the wolf and after the animal returns fully fit to the wild, it returns to watch over and protect Callum whenever he's in danger.
This is an exciting and nail-biting tale that children will love. It gives a real sense of the hardship of everyday life, both rural and urban, in nineteenth century Scotland. Interestingly, the debate continues about the re-introduction of once native species to the wild but the jury isn't out on praise for this book, which, hopefully is the first of many featuring Callum and his friends.
Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
It is early in the 19th century in Scotland. Callum lives alone with his mother on the outskirts of a village outside Edinburgh. His father is a sea captain and is rarely at home.Walking home from school, one snowy, winter day, Callum discovers what looks like an injured dog, lying in a ditch. It turns out to be a wolf! During the dangerous adventures that follow, a deep bond is built between them and the lives of Callum and his family will never be the same again!
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.
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