The Boy Who Howled, by Timothy Power

Callum, like a modern-day Mowgli, is a boy raised by wolves. He lives with Mom (a wolf), Aunt Trudy (another wolf), Dad (a wolf who wants to eat him, but pees on him to mark him with his scent when he’s in a good mood), Uncle Rick (a wolf) and Grampa (yes, another wolf), in the western US. Callum was found crawling in the woods and, as they’d all just had a good meal, adopted by the pack due his proper display of submissive behaviour, rolling on his back with his paws in the air. He’s since learned to understand his family, more or less, though they don’t always understand him. All this ends, though, when the pack decides he’s getting too old, as a young male, to be part of the pack any more, and as battling Dad for dominance is right out, he’s dropped off near a hiking trail dressed in stolen clothes, where a managing sort of woman finds him, thinks he’s a confused and lost foreigner due to his strange, half-remembered English, and (after having him de-loused by a barber) sweeps him back to civilization. Since his stolen clothes are a school uniform from the Hargrove Academy for the Gifted, Bright, and Perceptive Child, he ends up there, trying to figure out how to fit into human society, giving good advice to the stray dogs in the neighbourhood, bonding with homeless old men he thinks of as like his wolf Grampa, and making friends with Lila, who has the same shade of red hair as he does himself. As you’d expect, he finds his real family and manages to help the wolves, whose territory is threatened by human encroachment, find a sanctuary as well, but the fun is in the journey. Power does a wonderful job of combining off the cuff humour with realistic wolf behaviours, making gentle fun of human society along the way.

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