Welcome to JuttaGoetze.com.au

Wolf Cry

Published by Horwitz Martin and black dog books
For 10 - 14 year old readers

"I don't like him," Jim said. "I think he's weird." Min looked back at the house. In the window she could see Grandpa's dark shape. He was standing there, looking at them. "He's not like us," she said at last.

Min and Jim think Grandpa is strange. There's no doubt about it - he's downright scary. If only he'd go back to where he came from. Grandpa can't read, speaks haltingly, he gulps his food noisily, and he has scars, old scratch marks on the backs of his hands. At night, Grandpa paces his room like an animal, trapped in its cage.

On the night of the big storm Grandpa tells Min and Jim a story about a boy long ago who lived in the jungles of India, and who was brought up by wolves. As they listen, Min and Jim begin to wonder whose story Grandpa is telling. Is it his?

I was asked to write a book with the theme of animals and how they interrelate with people. As I'd already written eight books for the RSPCA, all based on animals, I was looking for something a little different. Writing is all about putting yourself in someone else's shoes, and this time I wanted to find out what it's like to live and think like an animal. I also wanted to capture the feel of the stories I was told when I was young, stories that had something fantastical about them.

In researching Wolf Cry, I learned a great deal. I hadn't realised how big a part wolves play in the folklore and mythology of many countries throughout the ages. Or that there were many reported cases of children who had been reared by wolves, both in India and in Europe.

What is it about the wolf? Is it its strength? Its cunning? Its fierce loyalty to its young? Wolves are feared. They are powerful, but they are also nurturing.

When Min and Jim listen to Grandpa's story, when they put themselves into the wolf-boy's shoes, they not only begin to think about their Grandfather differently, they also begin to treat the animals in their lives with a great deal more care.