Discussion Questions: The Wolf’s Boy

Discussion Questions for The Wolf’s Boy by Susan Williams Beckhorn

 

wolf's boy

As many of you know, when I read a book I really love – one that is literature full of meaning and beauty – I have the irresistible urge to write discussion questions. The Wolf’s Boy is just such a book. I can’t help myself!

 

Questions:

 

  1. Why does the law of the People demand that the baby be abandoned? Why does Yellow Mother decide to nurture the baby? Why does the human mother decide to return the baby to the People?

 

  1. Why do Sen and the other boys pick on Kai? What do you thing about the comment, “A lame pup makes good bait” (pg. 8)? Sen spits on Kai but later apologizes. What do you think is the reason?

 

  1. Why doesn’t Yellow Mother fear Kai?

 

  1. Why is a keerta so important? Do you believe they are full of magic? Why does Kai think so?

 

  1. Why doesn’t Kai have a sign or a real name?

 

  1. When Kai discovers that Torn Ear (Yellow Mother’s daughter) is dead, he takes the small pup that still needs her milk. Why does Shine allow this?

 

  1. Who do you think the Ice Men are? Do you believe they really eat children?

 

  1. Why is Kai’s father concerned about keeping the wolf pup?

 

  1. When Xar’s home is struck by “sky fire,” he believes it is Kai’s fault. Why?

 

  1. Kai is forbidden to hunt or use a keerta because he is tabbat. How will he teach Uff to hunt?

 

  1. Analyze the following quotations (all from page 70):

“Words were not just words. They were aimed like keertas at a mark.”

“A man fights those who hurt him,” my father had said.

“A bad foot isn’t everything. You must find what there is in you that is strong.” (Apa-Da)

 

  1. Uff is growing quickly. How does Kai know this? Why do you think his snares have been unsuccessful so far?

 

  1. Sen is often conflicted. Publicly he ridicules Kai but privately often apologizes. What is the reason for his behavior?

 

  1. Why does Moc-Atu warn Kai that Rhar (headman) fears the boy and his wolf? Yet he advises Kai to “Listen to your wolf.” What do you think he means or thinks Kai should do?

 

  1. What do you think is Kai’s power? Is it sufficient to survive in his world?

 

  1. Apa does not completely trust Uff. How do you think he feels when he realizes Uff has saved the family from the big cat?

 

  1. Do you think the tragedy that befalls Sen is Kai’s fault, Uff’s fault or Sen’s own fault?

 

  1. Do you think it is necessary for Kai to leave the People?

 

  1. Do you think Kai is the wolf’s boy? Is Uff his power? A living sign?

 

  1. Kai has two weapons now. Which is more powerful?

 

  1. Winter brings new and unexpected dangers – and a new reason to be grateful to Uff. Do you think Kai can survive? What if he did not have Uff?

 

  1. Ice Men have a bad reputation. So why does Oooni save Kai and heal his arm?

 

  1. Kai and Oooni have things to teach each other. In what ways are they alike? In what ways are they different? (This is a good time for a Venn diagram!!!)

 

  1. Why does Oooni leave?

 

  1. Why does Uff leave?

 

  1. Now that Uff is gone, is Kai powerless?

 

  1. When Uff returns, is she the same? Is Kai the same or has he changed, too?

 

  1. In the new world, Kai and Uff encounter a cave bear. How do they work together to protect each other?

 

  1. Kai returns to the cave for “magic” so Uff will survive. Is this visit important to Uff only?

 

  1. What do you think will happen when Kai and Uff return to the People?

 

Extension Activities:

 

As I mentioned in my review, this story just made me want to learn more about so many things. Here are a few of the ideas that especially peaked my curiosity:

 

  1. As the Author’s Note tells us, Uff is not really a wolf but an early dog. Beckhorn had the opportunity to visit the Wolf Conservation Center, and she listed a research source in her acknowledgments, How Dog Became Dog by Mark Derr. Here are a couple of websites that help us understand the distinctions between the two animals and how they developed: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-02/ and https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201111/how-the-dog-became-the-dog (based on Mark Derr’s book)

 

  1. Research Ice Age man. Who were the Neanderthals and who were the Cro-Magnons? The information suggests that for a short period of time, they existed simultaneously. Complete a Venn diagram for the two, then compare it to the Venn diagrams completed earlier for Kai and Oooni. I found an interesting website on topic: http://earlyhumans.mrdonn.org/cromagnon.html

 

  1. Learn more about the Chauvat Cave paintings. There are lots of websites to choose from and some of them offer wonderful photographs. Try drawing some of your own “cave art.”

Review: The Wolf’s Boy

Review:wolf's boy

The Wolf’s Boy

Author: Susan Williams Beckhorn

Publisher: Disney Hyperion, 2016

Source: Public library

 

Kai is tabbat, which means cursed or unlucky. He was born with a withered, twisted leg, and the leader of the People has ordered that he be abandoned in the wild to die. His father leaves him on the denning grounds of the yellow wolf pack. Death will be swift and sure for the baby. Instead, Yellow Mother claims Kai as one of her pups, licks and nurtures him. Kai survives. One night Kai’s mother hears a new voice among the yellow wolf pack, a voice she recognizes. She goes to Yellow Mother and explains that Kai was once hers, so Kai is returned to the People.

Though Kai lives among the People, he is never accepted. His leg is still maimed (clubfoot), and it is forbidden for him to become a blood hunter. Yet as he watches his older brother and others of his age achieve this goal, Kai, too, longs to hunt and to be accepted. Must he forever be considered tabbat just because of his leg?

Having no true friends, Kai turns to the yellow wolf pack for companionship. There is still a close bond between Kai and the yellow wolves, and when a young pup’s mother dies, Kai adopts it as his own. He names it Uff, and she is a wonderful and loving friend. Yet this, too, draws criticism from the people. They believe Uff to be dangerous, and even Kai’s family believes this to be true. When disaster strikes, Kai knows it is his and Uff’s fault. Kai and Uff must leave the People. Together, they face an unknown world full of danger, mystery, truth and beauty. Is this a world where Kai can find a place for himself and his wolf?

This book is great, not only because it is a wonderful and compelling story, but also because it made me want to learn more. And there was so much that I did want to learn. I really appreciate the Author’s Note and Acknowledgments. I don’t always read these, but I had to find out. Is Uff really a wolf? (The Author’s Note does explain that she is actually an early dog.) Who were these people? I wanted to learn more about the cave paintings. Simply put, I just wanted to know so much more. I love when a book rouses my curiosity as much as this one did. I also really appreciate the adventure aspect of the story. It makes stories more enjoyable for young boys who sometimes find it difficult to like real literature.

 

For more information:

To learn more about Susan Williams Beckhorn and her books, visit her website at http://suebeckhorn.com/HOME.html

 

tl;dr:

***** 5/5 stars

Kai and his wolf Uff must leave the People and make their own way in a dangerous world. What awaits is a great adventure, not only for the characters but the reader.

 

Barbara