Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grade 5n/a4.420350
Hunting—the predator and its prey—is at the heart of this riveting and suspenseful novel from Newbery Medalist Avi with illustrations from Caldecott Medalist Brian Floca.

In the computer game world of Bow Hunter—thirteen-year-old Casey’s world—there are no deaths, just kills. In Nashoba’s world—the wolf world—there have been no kills. For this is March, the Starving Time in the Iron Mountain region of Colorado, when wolves and ravens alike are desperate for food.

With the help of a raven, the miraculous Merla, Nashoba must lead his pack of eight to their next meal. The wolf hates being dependent on a mere bird, but Merla is a bird wise beyond her years.

When Casey’s path crosses Nashoba’s, the worlds of two very different hunters collide.
Paperback, 176 pages
Published on August 2, 2016 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 1442499222
ISBN-13: 9781442499225
1 Book Review
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  • jilly_bean
    jilly_beanTuesday, April 9, 2019 at 1:10 pm55 starsFeatured
    Like all good fables, this one tells its story with minimal characterization and unabashed moral messages. Wolf Nashoba, an aging pack leader, is desperate to find food for his starving band after the long winter, especially since the brash young wolf, Garby, questions his leadership. Meanwhile, Casey, a just-turned-13-year-old human boy who excels at the video hunting game “Bowhunter,” is thrilled when he receives a real bow and arrow for his birthday. Nashoba’s and Casey’s stories collide when Nashoba leads a hunt—helped by wise, acerbic raven Merla—near Casey’s home. Casey, searching for a stray arrow, comes across Merla, who is helping Nashoba, injured during the hunt. On instinct, Casey shoots Merla and then is shocked as he realizes the finality of real-world killing. Although the animals speak to one another in quoted dialogue and exhibit humanlike thought processes, animals and humans do not enjoy mutually intelligible speech. The fable’s messages—touching on false pride, the facile violence of virtual reality, age and youth, the coexistence of species, the value of kindness, and a few others—are inevitably diluted by being so numerous, but happily, they offer gentle provocation for thoughtful readers. Floca’s black-and-white pencil illustrations, with their attentive, appreciative depictions of the natural world, add real depth and poignancy to the story.

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