Set just before the Russian revolution, The Wolf Wilder tells the story of Feo a young girl living with her mother in the countryside. Their main company is a group of wolves; former pets of the aristocracy that Feo and her mother Marina prepare to return to the wild after being rejected by their owners. Following the sudden arrest of her mother and destruction of her home, Feo travels to St Petersburg to rescue her. There follows a gripping journey, fraught with danger.
Wolf Wilder is an exciting adventure story with lots to think and talk about including standing up for justice, learning to working together and what it means to be brave. There is a cast of engaging characters, memorable scenes and a satisfying storyline. Beautifully written, this novel would be a delight to read aloud and share with your child.
Listen to the author read the beginning of the book.
Talk about the story
Should Feo have left on her own to try and save her mother? Did she have any choice?
Which character did you find most interesting and why?
Was Feo brave? What does it mean to be brave? Is it possible to be brave and afraid at the same time?
Talk about times you have been really cold and what it felt like.
Things to make and do
Make a book
Make a zig zag book with the different characters in the story. Write a line or two about each character.
Make a weather chart
Have another look at chapter 8 which talks about different kinds of cold. Create a weather chart of to illustrate wind cold, snow cold, ice cold, hard cold, blind cold. Or you could make up your own categories.
Paint a picture
Paint a picture in response to line you like from the story. If you are not sure which to pick you could try this one: ‘The sky was the blue of winter palaces. The snow stretched for miles and the half grown trees were like praying polar bears.’ p.169
Design a model sled
Look at images of dog sleds on the internet and design a sled for Feo to enter St Petersburg.
Make a fact file about wolves
What do you already know about wolves? Did you find out anything new from the story? Is there anything more you would like to find out? Have a look at the link below. Make a fact file about wolves using information from the story, what you already know and what you find out.
See our print-off activity book with some of these ideas and other activities
Find out more
Katherine Rundell the author talks about writing the book here
Read more stories by Katherine Rundell, titles include Rooftoppers and The Explorer, The Good Thieves, The Girl Savage
Find out the meaning of Russian words in the book here: eg lapushka
Ilya longs to leave the Russian army and join a dancing school to train to be a ballet dancer – watch a video of Russian boy ballet dancers
Watch film clips of Russian folk dancing Can you copy any of the moves or shapes?
Teachers interested in a four week teaching sequence on this book for children in years 5 or 6 see here