Howl

Howl is the first book in the Wild Place Adventure Series


Howl 
Synopsis: After twelve-year-old Robin’s mother dies, she and her family move to Ontario to live with an eccentric grandmother, Griff. Robin decides not to care about anything, but when her pregnant dog falls through the ice, she is forced to realize that she can’t stop herself from caring.

Griff helps Robin save her dog by crawling out on the ice. After this rescue, other hurt and orphaned animals come to Robin and soon she finds herself running an illegal wild animal shelter.

She tries to hide what she’s doing from her veterinarian father, but he finds out. When the town insists she shut it down, Robin seeks out Griff who tells her about Emmeline Pankhurst, the suffragette who chained herself to Parliament to gain the vote for women.

When the sheriff arrives & threatens to arrest her and put all the animals to sleep, Robin chains herself to the barn. Zo-Zo and other friends arrive and they all do the same thing. The sheriff leaves, but threatens to come back.

Robin, Squirm and her best friend Zo-Zo, start to run a campaign to save the shelter, but it looks as if they will lose. Then the mayor, who’s been spear-heading the effort to shut them down, tries to lasso a bear out on the lake. Robin is so upset that she overcomes her fear of water and goes out to save the bear.

The rest of the story can be found in the book . . .

Howl is the first book in the Wild Place Adventure Series

 

Howl Excerpt

In this excerpt, Robin, the main character in Howl, is trying to find her brother who has suddenly disappeared. She walks along the shore of the frozen lake looking for him when she sees her dog, Relentless, out on the thin ice!

 

A hand grabbed her and pulled her up. A huge hand.

“Griff!” Robin panted. “Relentless! She fell through the ice, she —”

“So that’s what all the yowling’s about!”

Robin pointed through the blizzard, and Griff strained forward. “Right you are. Let’s just hope Squirm wasn’t out there with her.”

Robin stared at Griff, paralyzed by the thought. Griff began to stride off. “Come on. Let’s get some rope.”

Robin’s legs wouldn’t move. Was Griff going to make her go on the ice?

Griff turned and put her big hands on Robin’s shoulders. Her face was so close, Robin could feel the warmth of her grandmother’s breath on her cheek.

“I know you’re afraid,” Griff said. “But help anyways. I can’t pull the dog out by myself.” She bounded away, yanking the rope she used as a clothesline as she went.

Robin chased after her, teeth chattering. “But what, what if you go in too?”

“Just hold the rope,” Griff said firmly. “I’ll take care of the rest.” She wrapped the rope once, then twice around her own waist. She coiled the other end around Robin and positioned her behind a rock on the shore. Robin could hear Relentless howling in the background.

“Lean against the rock and hold on tight!” “But what if I can’t?” Robin cried. Her face was hot and wet, and she smeared her coat sleeve across it. If Griff fell in, and she let go of the rope, Griff would die too!

Griff’s eyes bored into hers. “You can do this. I know you can.”

Robin crunched down and pressed her body as hard as she could into the rock. When she felt she was in the strongest position she could manage, she peeked over the top of the rock and watched as Griff lay down, splaying her arms and legs wide to spread out her weight, and began to inch out onto the ice.

Relentless was several feet away and still thrashing, but in a slow, exhausted way. She had sunk deeper into the black hole, and now the freezing water was just below her ears.

Robin gripped the rope as tight as she could and leaned back, tensing her whole body so she’d be prepared if there was a sudden tug. Her jacket had ridden up, and the snow was biting into her skin just above her pant waist. The coldness of it hurt like crazy, but she knew she couldn’t let go of the rope to pull her coat down, even for a second.

She could hear Griff talking to Relentless.

“I’m coming, sweetheart. Don’t you worry. I’ll be there any minute now. Don’t you go drowning on me. That’s a good girl.”

Slowly, very slowly, moving centimeter by centimeter, Griff neared the hole in the ice. Robin knew that this was where the ice would be thinnest. This was where another hunk of it would break off, plunging her grandmother into the deathly cold water. Robin would have to watch both of them die. And it would all be her fault.

“Tighten the rope!” Griff shouted.

Robin heaved herself to standing and yanked her body to make the rope even more taut. Then she braced her snowshoes on the rock for support. Every cell in her body was screaming. Hold on. Please. Snow lashed her face. The snow was so dense, she couldn’t see Griff anymore, so she closed her eyes and started counting. When she’d counted to sixty, she started all over again. She was at thirty-five when she heard a loud crack. Had Griff fallen in? She felt something warm and wet trickle between her legs. She couldn’t have stopped the pee if she’d tried.

Howl Audio Excerpt
In this excerpt, Robin, the main character in Howl, is trying to find her brother who has suddenly disappeared. She walks along the shore of the frozen lake looking for him when she sees her dog, Relentless, out on the thin ice!



Nominations/Awards/Reviews for Howl:

Nominations:

* 2012: Canadian Library Association’s Book of the Year for Children Award

*Violet Downey Book Award.

* a contender in the Trillium Board of Education Battle of the Book event.

Reviews:

“A satisfying and uplifting story!” -Canadian Materials Magazine

“I read it to all my students & they loved it. It was great inspiration for our ‘Green’ project too!”  –  J. Gardiner, Toronto Teacher.