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Author: Seidler, Tor
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Year Published: 2015
ISBN: 9781481410175
Grades: Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6

Firstborn

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Firstborn is a ruggedly lyrical homage to the beauty of finding the courage to be yourself.
Whether you are a magpie, wolf or human, readers will learn to appreciate that we are each unique in our dreams, desires and behaviors.  The importance of a firstborn male is critical to the survival of Blue Boy’s pack. However, what transpires when Lamar, his long awaited son is more enamoured with a female coyote than leading the pack.
Inspired by his friend, naturalist/author, Jean Craighead George, Tor Seidler tells the story of a pack of wolves transplanted from Canada back into the wilds of Yellowstone National Park in Montana, USA. The consequences and benefits of moving animals from one environment, well-intentioned or otherwise, is explored through the eyes of Maggie, the magpie, who is develops a friendship with Blue Boy, the leader of a wolf pack. The author displays great depth of  knowledge about the lives of magpies and wolves alike in his storytelling.  The unique perspective of Maggie, the magpie, the storyteller, allows readers to take a more objective view than that of one species.  Maggie unusual friendship/relationship with the wolf pack allows us to see the interdependence of animal species.
The blunt, straightforward glimpse into the lifestyle  and behaviors of wolves does not repulse nor endear readers to wolves.  It is a realistic look at the impact of humans trying to help other species and its consequences.  An ironically labeled map or ‘bird’s eye view of Yellowstone and Environs’ allows readers to follow the travels of Maggie, the magpie and Blue Boy’s wolf pack.
Genre: Animal/Survival  Suitable for read-aloud: Grade 3 Science: Animal Life Cycles.

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