October 06, 2014

The Wolf and Me: The Seven Sequels

by Richard Scrimger
Orca Book Publishers
256 pp.
Ages 10-16
For release October 1, 2014

Poor Bunny.  He's such a great guy but, often through no fault of his own, he gets himself immersed in the most unusual, even dangerous, situations.  In Ink Me (Scrimger, 2012), the prequel to The Wolf and Me, Bunny (Bernard, as only his grandfather called him) ended up with a tattoo indicating he was part of the 15 Street gang and that he had killed someone, all untrue.  Sadly he did get mixed up in some dangerous situations and is currently at Creekside, a young offender facility just outside of Toronto.  While Bunny is finding his time at Creekside useful, especially with the lessons he has with Mr. Wing to help him with his literacy (especially his spelling), he's not a troublemaker, and he's happy to have the holidays until New Year's with his family. Too bad he gets kidnapped while out skating with his brother Spencer at Toronto's City Hall.  See what I mean?  This kid has no luck.

While his hostage-takers demand to know about his grandfather, David McLean (though Bunny initially believes they're asking about "Mr. Clean"), the woman named Vi attempts to gain his confidence, offering to help him get a note to the police.  But Bunny learns of her deceit and manages to escape, setting off on an amazing skating adventure on the icy landscape, in search of Creekside, home, or just help.

Bunny may call himself "dumb" and "stupid" but he's very smart about putting all the little pieces of the puzzle together to make a comprehensive big picture.  He just doesn't have a lot of luck.  Sure that he's found Creekside, Bunny breaks into a juvenile detention centre for females!  As unfortunate as that may seem, that mistake puts him in a position to help others, even if it does complicate things.
"Here I am in my little life trying to deal with my troubles.  Some people are worrying about me and some are heping me and some are making it hard for me and all the time theres this–this–this gigantic ALL all around me.  It make me feel small but also grate full." (pg. 122)
Like the detention centre, there are many obstacles that impede Bunny's journey.  But he always finds a way to turn them into something positive, including an encounter with a wolf that allows him to connect with his grandfather.  And if anyone deserves a break in life, it's Bunny.

I'm delighted that Richard Scrimger was able to parlay Bunny's Ink Me fiasco into a second adventure that shows the teen's growth after incarceration at Creekside while providing both him and the reader the evidence that he's one of the good guys.  Bunny makes the best of that which life tosses at him, whether they're rocks or candies. Who else could manage to enjoy a hockey game with his captors and take advantage of his only footwear–a pair of hockey skates–to escape?  Bunny.  And I'm so glad Richard Scrimger gave him life.  He makes life better for all who meet him, fictional characters and readers alike.
"Life isnt about making sense.  Its a gift and you do your best with it." (pg. 190)

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