Two wolves by Tristan Bancks

cover image

Random House Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780857982032.
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. From the outset Bancks draws his characters and setting so finely that we are aware immediately of relevant details. Ben Silver is a young boy with a penchant for all things police and loves making his own stop-motion police movies with a battered old video camera. In a home environment clearly not at the upper end of the social scale, Ben is in his room making his latest epic, and minding his little sister Olive when the police come knocking at the front door looking for his parents. When Ben tells the police that his parents are still at work at their car wrecking yard, they leave without explanation, leaving Ben wondering what is happening. Just as he picks up the phone to call his parents, they arrive with a screech of tyres and frantically whisk both children with a few possessions into the car, claiming they are going on a 'holiday'.
The ensuing action which often becomes dark and disturbing as these errant parents attempt to cover up a $7.2 million bank bungle in their favour awakens Ben to the failings of both mother and father - and also brings out his strongly protective care of little Olive. When Ben and Olive are abandoned by both parents, he uses all his instincts to bring them both safely through frightening and dangerous experiences alone in the bush, until finally managing to get them both back to civilisation and their grandmother.

An old man tells his grandson that 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.'

A rite of passage novel that will capture readers, particularly boys, aged 10 and up, I highly recommend this and believe it would be a gripping 'read aloud' which would lead to many conversations around ethics and values.
Two Wolves book trailer .
Teacher's notes available here.
Sue Warren