William Grill was first brought to my attention when he won the 2015 Kate Greenaway Medal for his masterpiece Shackleton's Journey. The Wolves of Currumpaw is destined to be another award winner.
In a nutshell The Wolves of Currumpaw is set back in 1892 in New Mexico. A notorious wolfpack roam the Currumpaw valley, preying on cattle and evading capture by the local ranchmen. The famous British naturalist, Ernest Thompson Seton, is employed to hunt down the pack leader of the wolfpack, King Lobo.
This is a re-telling of the classic story by Ernest Thompson Seton, 'Lobo, The King of Currumpaw', first published in 1898. William's illustrations take us back to the dying days of the old west. Taking a classic story and re-imagining it for a new generation.
From not being familiar with the original story, this was a refreshing part of history I knew little about. The story leading up to the capture of King Lobo is nicely paced out, and when Lobo is finally surrounded (and about to be killed) Seton demands that he is captured alive. From then you see a changed man in Seton and a love for this king of wolves emerge.
William's coloured pencil renderings always remind me of cave drawings, so the subjects he usually focusses on are made that little bit more historic with his illustration style. Again this book is full of energetic and 'living' illustrations. His renderings give the illusion of motion, like he has drawn these from life (maybe he has a time machine?). The book is jam packed of illustrated beauty, from small studies to full page spreads of wondrous landscapes. Much like Shackleton's Journey, William has stuck to a very strict colour palette throughout, with this book filled with very earthy warm colours, which really bring the feeling of its time and place to life.
In the same vain of Shackleton's Journey, The Wolves of Currumpaw is another triumpt for William Grill. The book is beautifully presented and it tells the true life story of a very sad part of American history. If you're a fan of William Grill you won't be disappointed. Older children will love the adventure and historic nature of this book - told in an easy to read fashion. The Wolves of Currumpaw is available to buy from all good bookshops and from the Flying Eye Books website.
Also a big thank you to Emma and William for my own personally signed copy. It will be treasured for years to come!