“The Wolf and the Shield: An Adventure with Saint Patrick” by Sherry Weaver Smith, reads like a heartwarming parable. Although it is ostensibly a children’s story, ideal for ages seven through twelve, this lovely book hit all the requisite high notes to hold my rapt attention: that it is set in pre-Christian, fifth century Ireland; that its language walks the fine line between lyricism and economy; that the page turning story is creative and unpredictable; that the fulcrum of action concerns an orphaned wolf pup. Give me a dog story in any variation, and you have my full attention. In this particular story, author Sherry Weaver Smith had me at “Yip.”
“The Wolf and the Shield” is a masterfully crafted tale. In the beginning, we meet Kieran, an 11-year-old boy burdened with a philosophical quandary on the brink of his maturity. In the wake of his father’s death, it falls to him to provide for his family, and the seeming means to do so arrives in the form of a tempting offer to join his clan chieftain’s ranks as a warrior, assigned to protect and defend the clan, albeit it by dubious means. It is a den of predatory wolves that holds the biggest threat to this particular region of agrarian northern Ireland. When Kieran sets out to prove his worthiness in his own wolf hunt, he meets Saint Patrick, in a forest, who poses the question, “What does your heart hunt for?” and guides him to a clearing, where an orphaned wolf pup awaits, to which Kieran quickly becomes attached.
This is a story with integrity and moral. It is laced with Christian theology and rife with the lagniappe of accompanying illustrations. “The Wolf and the Shield” will pull at the heartstrings of all age groups. It has the power to edify the young and the ability to reaffirm anyone’s faith, as it begs the timeless question, “Of what is your “shield” comprised?”
See this book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Shield-Adventure-Patrick-Friends/dp/0819...