Author: Di Toft
Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic
May Contain Spoilers
Let me first admit that I chose this book solely based on the cover. I mean, look at it! The silliest excuse for a wolf is boldly embossed on the jacket for all to see. What a goofy looking creature! What a goofy expression! Yup, the book beckoned and I answered the call.
When Nat goes to look at a puppy with his mom and granddad, he wasn’t quite expecting Woody, the scraggly, ratty looking dog the neighbor is trying to get rid of. When Nat sees a vision of the farmer drowning the dog, he instantly decides to take him home. Nat soon learns that he has unleashed a storm of danger and mystery; the dog, Woody, is actually a wolven, a shape-shifter! Some very bad men are after Woody, and they will do anything to get him back into their evil clutches. Will Nat be able to save his new friend?
The cover of the book is a bit deceptive. The story may start out a little on the humorous side, but it quickly shifts gears, delivering a surprisingly dark tale of mad scientists and cruel animal experiments. Don’t worry though. Things don’t get too intense, and the ensuing adventure is suspenseful and exciting. Both Nat and Woody display some needed character growth, and they form a lifelong friendship, too.
With a ruthless werewolf on Woody’s trail, Nat has to face his worst nightmare to protect his friend. I thought Nat was a great character. He has moved to a new town and he hates it. He has no friends, and the village bully has targeted him for some extra special attention. Though his Mom and his grandparents are trying their best to make him happy, all he really wants is to have his dad back home again. His father has gotten into some trouble with the law, and he’s fled the country to avoid a trial. If that doesn’t ruin a boy’s day, I don’t know what would. Poor Nat is dealing with a lot of upheaval, but his granddad thinks that a puppy will be of comfort to him.
Which leads to Woody, the ratty, tattered dog that is so not a puppy. When Nat decides to rescue the cur anyway, he is in for the shock of his life. Woody can change into a boy, and when he does, he nearly gives Nat a heart attack. Woody is a fun character, too, because he can’t be considered the brightest chap on the block. Sure, he’s young and he’s still learning about the human world, but there are times at the beginning of the book when he is so hopelessly clueless. He may be a shape-shifter, but he’s not a good one, and he has a temper that gets him in the doghouse. Big time!
With lots of action and scary villains, Wolven packs an exciting adventure between the covers of that goofily endearing cover. I enjoyed my time with Nat and Woody, and I was happy to learn that there’s a going to be sequel.
Review copy obtained from the library