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Firstborn
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A magpie who befriends a wolf tells their story.Maggie the magpie, hatched in a pine tree on a ranch in Montana, is unimpressed with her parents' lack of imagination in naming her Maggie and discontented overall with magpie life. After the death of her mentor, Jackson the crow, and a near-brush with a fox who, at the last moment, is scarfed up by a wolf, Maggie flies away from the ranch. She encounters the large wolf who saved her and discovers his name is Blue Boy and that he is making his way back to Canada after being forcibly relocated to Yellowstone National Park. The two form a mutually useful relationship--Maggie locates game from her airy vantage point, and Blue Boy hunts it down--and Maggie sees no reason why she "shouldn't accompany this amazing meal ticket on his journey." As months slide into years, Maggie's relationship with Blue Boy grows beyond food. She shares his joys and struggles as he is wounded by ranchers, finds a mate and a pack, settles back in Yellowstone, and sires and raises pups. Seidler's tale, narrated by the precocious Maggie and filled with her droll observations, brims with rivalries and treachery as well as selfless acts and unrequited love. A rich tale of the wild that quickens the pulse and fills the heart.--Kirkus Reviews "December 15, 2014 " Maggie the Magpie has a great deal to learn about the world. During her first few weeks of life, Maggie experiences prejudice and stereotypes as she meets other varieties of birds and mammals. But in the midst of finding her way, she also meets a Crow named Jackson. Although less than tolerant in the beginning, Jackson warms up to Maggie's presence and begins to teach her the ways of humans, other animals, and most importantly, how to stay alive. When Jackson is shot by a human, Maggie feels she has lost her best friend and mentor. In the next few weeks she happens upon a solitary alpha male wolf named Blue Boy. Blue Boy has also lost his own family and is trying to find his way. This unlikely pair set out together looking for solid ground and they find it in small pack, of which Blue Boy becomes a member and eventually leads. The wolf settles down and starts a new family of his own while still maintaining a relationship with the lonely magpie. Blue Boys firstborn pup, Lamar, challenges social expectations by not being the alpha male that his father wants him to be. Lamar is torn between what his pack expects of him and where his heart wants to lead him. Will their relationship become so strained that it will be destroyed forever? Seidler has done superb research on animal behavior, which is clearly evident throughout the entirety of the novel. A great addition to any upper elementary or middle school collection, this is ideal for opening conversation with young students regarding racial prejudice and societal stereotypes.--School Library Journal "January 2015 " Told in the voice of Maggie, a flippant-yet-wise magpie, the story takes off when she discovers parenting her own flock is not for her. Instead, she is attracted to the freedom of Blue Boy, the alpha male of a small pack of wolves living near Yellowstone. The novel chronicles the pack's adventures: bringing down buffalo, raising a litter, avoiding capture (or killing) by humans. The anthropomorphized characters are fully developed, with part of the story centered around Lamar, Blue Boy's firstborn, who is not an alphain-training, but instead prefers cavorting among flowers and pursuing a female coyote. Themes such as survival of the fittest, protection of the environment, and appreciation of those who are different abound. Seidler, writing in a style reminiscent of that of Jean Craighead George yet uniquely his own, paints word pictures of the majestic scenery. (A map helps the reader trace the travels of Blue Boy and others in the pack.) The title is slightly misleading, making the book seem more narrow than it is; there is much to appreciate here.--Booklist "February 15, 2015 " This book is a fast-paced adventure story set in majestic Yellowstone Park. Alpha wolf Blue Boy is captured in Canada and relocated to the park. He loses his mate and pups, eventually joins a small pack, and is befriended by Maggie, a magpie, the book's narrator. Blue Boy is overjoyed when Lamar, his first born, arrives. As the pack struggles to survive, Lamar grows into a wolf who marches to the beat of a different drummer and is not cut out to be a leader. Lamar strikes out on his own, but later returns to challenge Raze when he attempts to take the alpha male position. The story, told in first person, brings the animal characters to life with personalities and human characteristics. The setting's descriptions are vivid and realistic. This is a wonderful adventure story with imagery and personification woven into a tale of survival.--School Library Connection "September 2015 "

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