Wolfstongue, by Sam Thompson (book review)

Wolfstongue by Sam Thompson and Illustrated by Anna Tromop

Published by Little Island Books

There’s nothing more appealing for an adult reading a children’s book and finding an important moral there. And this is exactly what I found in Wolfstongue. A child needs an interesting adventure and a little magic to explore when reading and amidst all that, a lesson to be learned. Wolfstongue has it all.

Bullying, corruption and cruelty is all dealt with here by Sam Thompson and it highlights the importance of using one’s voice and standing up and being heard. What’s happening throughout this book, is happening in playgrounds, gardens and on our streets of the modern day. Children are prone to bullying in all walks of life.

I love that this novel focuses on the heroes. It has the bullies, the villains there at its core, but the focus returns again and again to the good guys. The people who stand up for either other and for those facing adversity. It tells the story of friendship, and it has a little magic along the way. It has a lovely story at its heart.

Silas is the main character of Wolfstongue and known to the bullies at school as Silence because of his tendency not to speak. This not speaking gets him in trouble on a regular basis. Silas has a speech impediment and often wishes to be invisible rather than teased for his issue: until an unusual event changes his life.

When walking home from school Silas meets Isengrim, a wolf who has ventured from the woods with an injured paw. And, though he is hesitant, Silas helps him and finds himself learning of the nearby woods and all that goes on there that humans are oblivious to.

The animals living there have learned to speak like humans however the foxes, particularly their unforgiving ruler Reynard, use their eloquent speech to become rulers of all that inhabit it, particularly picking on Isengrim and his family to serve him, even using threats against his newly born pups as a method of control.

For this reason, the wolves spend much of their time in hiding with only a scarce supply of magic clay to treat wounds and with only each other to rely on.

It is this injustice and his growing understanding of how truly wrong this way of life is for all but the foxes that Silas finds himself truly angered. Fuelled by this he, when defending Isengrim to Reynard, speaks without fear, but with honesty and bravery.

This friendship that develops between Silas and Isengrim motivates them both to deal with their life and its difficulties. They overcome issues they once thought impossible. This is a lesson teaching children who read the story that they too can overcome adversity. They too can use their voice and be heard. They too can beat the bullies.

This is a truly lovely tale with a beautiful message at its core.


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