A Wolf Called Wander
Goodreads ratings
4.16 / 5

"A Wolf Called Wander" Summary

By Rosanne Parry

middle grade | 243 pages | Published in 2019

A New York Times bestseller! “Don’t miss this dazzling tour de force.”—Katherine Applegate, Newbery Medal winning author of The One and Only IvanThis gripping novel about survival and family is based on the real story of one wolf’s incredible journey to find a safe place to call home. Illustrated throughout, this irresistible tale by award-winning author Rosanne Parry is for fans of Sara Pennypacker’s Pax and Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan. Swift, a young wolf cub, lives with his pack in the mountains learning to hunt, competing with his brothers and sisters for hierarchy, and watching over a new litter of cubs. Then a rival pack attacks, and Swift and his family scatter.Alone and scared, Swift must flee and find a new home. His journey takes him a remarkable one thousand miles across the Pacific Northwest. The trip is full of peril, and Swift encounters forest fires, hunters, highways, and hunger before he finds his new home.Inspired by the extraordinary true story of a wolf named OR-7 (or Journey), this irresistible tale of survival invites readers to experience and imagine what it would be like to be one of the most misunderstood animals on earth. This gripping and appealing novel about family, courage, loyalty, and the natural world is for fans of Fred Gipson’s Old Yeller and Katherine Applegate’s Endling.Includes black-and-white illustrations throughout and a map as well as information about the real wolf who inspired the novel.Plus don't miss Rosanne Parry's stand-alone companion novel, A Whale of the Wild.


Estimated read time: 4 min read

One Sentence Summary

A young wolf embarks on a treacherous journey to find a new home after his pack is attacked.


"A Wolf Called Wander" by Rosanne Parry is a captivating and heartwarming tale that follows the incredible journey of a young wolf who embarks on an epic adventure. The story is filled with themes of courage, resilience, and the unbreakable bond between animals and nature. It is a perfect blend of adventure and emotional depth, making it a compelling read for both young and adult readers.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview

The story begins in the lush and wild forests of the Pacific Northwest, where a young wolf named Swift lives happily with his pack. However, tragedy strikes when a rival pack attacks Swift's family, leaving him as the sole survivor. Determined to find a new home, Swift sets out on a perilous journey across unfamiliar terrain.


The setting of "A Wolf Called Wander" is primarily the vast and diverse landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, including dense forests, rugged mountains, and winding rivers. The author vividly describes the natural beauty of the surroundings and the challenges they pose for the protagonist, Swift, as he navigates through them.

Main Events

1Swift's family is attacked by a rival wolf pack, leaving him as the sole survivor.
5Swift encounters a grizzly bear and narrowly escapes.
10Swift forms a bond with a raven named Thorn.
15Swift faces a fierce snowstorm and struggles to find food.
20Swift crosses paths with a kind and wise she-wolf named Breeze.
25Swift and Breeze confront the dangers of a raging wildfire.

Main Characters


Swift is a young and courageous wolf who embarks on a journey of survival and self-discovery after losing his family. He is determined and resilient, facing numerous challenges as he navigates the wilderness.


Thorn is a wise and resourceful raven who becomes Swift's loyal companion during his journey. He provides guidance and support to Swift, offering valuable insights and friendship.


Breeze is a compassionate she-wolf who crosses paths with Swift during his travels. She becomes a trusted ally to Swift, sharing her wisdom and helping him navigate the dangers of the wild.

Themes and Insights

Survival and Resilience

The theme of survival and resilience is prominently portrayed throughout the story as Swift overcomes various obstacles and learns to adapt to the harsh realities of the wilderness. The novel emphasizes the instinctual nature of animals and their unwavering determination to endure.

Friendship and Companionship

The bond between Swift and his companions, Thorn and Breeze, highlights the importance of friendship and companionship in the face of adversity. The novel showcases the profound connections that can form between different species and the support they provide to one another.

Harmony with Nature

"A Wolf Called Wander" beautifully illustrates the harmony between animals and their natural environment. It emphasizes the interconnectedness of all living beings and the significance of respecting and preserving the delicate balance of nature.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers of "A Wolf Called Wander" are taken on an emotional and captivating journey through the eyes of Swift, a young wolf determined to find a new home. The novel offers a poignant reflection on the resilience of nature and the enduring spirit of its characters. It serves as a reminder of the profound connections that exist within the natural world and the strength found in unity and friendship.


In conclusion, "A Wolf Called Wander" is a compelling and poignant tale that resonates with readers of all ages. Through its rich storytelling and vivid descriptions, the novel transports readers into the enchanting world of the wild, leaving a lasting impression of courage, friendship, and the unyielding spirit of the natural world.

A Wolf Called Wander FAQ

  1. What is the book 'A Wolf Called Wander' about?

    The book 'A Wolf Called Wander' is about a young wolf who embarks on a perilous journey to find a new home after a rival pack attacks his family.

  2. Is 'A Wolf Called Wander' based on a true story?

    Yes, 'A Wolf Called Wander' is based on the true story of a wolf known as OR-7, who traveled over 1,000 miles in search of a new territory.

  3. What age group is 'A Wolf Called Wander' suitable for?

    The book is suitable for middle-grade readers, typically ages 8-12, but can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

  4. Who is the author of 'A Wolf Called Wander'?

    The author of 'A Wolf Called Wander' is Rosanne Parry, an acclaimed children's book author.

  5. Are there any illustrations in 'A Wolf Called Wander'?

    Yes, the book features beautiful illustrations by Mónica Armiño that bring the story to life.

  6. Is 'A Wolf Called Wander' a standalone book or part of a series?

    It is a standalone book, not part of a series.

  7. What themes are explored in 'A Wolf Called Wander'?

    The book explores themes of survival, resilience, loyalty, and the bond between humans and animals.

  8. Is 'A Wolf Called Wander' suitable for animal lovers?

    Yes, the book is perfect for animal lovers as it provides a unique perspective on the life of a wild wolf.