Review Blog

Mar 07 2014

Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks

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Random House Australia Children's, 2014. ISBN: 9780857982032.
Highly recommended for readers from 12-15 years of age. Themes: Family relationships, Siblings, Action adventure, Missing persons. Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks is a powerful novel for readers from twelve to fifteen. The Cherokee prophecy in the prologue sets up the story's tension and signals the moral dilemmas faced by the main character Ben.
There is a battle raging inside him, inside all of us. A terrible battle between two wolves. One wolf is bad - pride, jealousy, greed. The other wolf is good - kindness, hope, truth. The child asks, 'Who will win?' The grandfather answers simply, 'The one you feed.'
Ben is an overweight thirteen year old who escapes from his family troubles with online games and creating stop motion movies. He asks so many questions about his dad's problems at work and his financial issues that he earns the nickname Cop.
After a visit by four policemen, Ben's parents hurriedly arrive; pack up Ben and his younger sister Olive for a 'holiday', in reality a life on the run. Ben's anxiousness deepens as they change their appearances, swap cars with Uncle Chris and hideout in his grandpa's rundown cabin. Ben records all his thoughts in his notebook, gathering evidence about his parents' misdeeds and self-absorption. The development of Ben's resilience is powerful. When faced with his dad's duplicity he chooses a different path, taking Olive on the most difficult journey of their young lives.
Bancks builds the tension and drama using short punchy sentences, creating tension and drama through the carefully crafted scenes. The main character's inner dialogue is relatable and realistic.
Teacher's resource is available.
Rhyllis Bignell

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