Back to School: Steve, Raised by Wolves by Jared Chapman
STEVE WAS RAISED BY WOLVES.
THEN, ONE DAY, MOTHER WOLF WALKED HIM THROUGH THE WOODS...
AND TO THE... BUS STOP.
"STEVE," SAID HIS MOM, "I KNOW YOU'RE ANXIOUS ABOUT GOING TO SCHOOL. IT'S NOT ALWAYS EASY TO GET ALONG WITH HUMANS, BUT JUST BE YOURSELF.
I KNOW YOU WILL HAVE A GREAT DAY."
Mama Wolf could have been a little more specific in her advice. Steve's experience with other humans has been mostly scaring campers with his authentic wolf growls, so when the obviously intimidated teacher calls the roll, Steve answers with his best "HOOOOOOWWWWLLLLL!"
Enjoying the attention, Steve shows off a little, shredding banners and posters welcoming the kids back to school. He pounces on a few of his classmates, and (I am sorry to report) scent-marks the playground slide!
In the cafeteria he opens the lunch bag his mom had lovingly packed and pulls out his lunch--a dead bird, feathers and all. Needless to say, no one enjoyed sitting at Steve's table. His teacher sends him home with a note:
Steve had a hard time staying out of trouble today.
Mrs. Wolf was patient.
"I LOVE THAT YOU ARE BEING YOURSELF," SAID MRS. WOLF.
"I KNOW YOU CAN FIND A WAY TO MAKE THIS WORK."
The next morning when Steve bounds into his classroom, he finds everyone in a tizzy. Reggie, the classroom pet hamster, is missing! The kids are frantically looking under cabinets and behind equipment. Some of them are near tears.
But then, Steve's wolf training comes into play. He sniffs around the room and gets a whiff of hamster. Following the scent he lopes down the hall to the cafeteria and follows his keen nose right to the fridge. And inside is Reggie, cheerfully chomping on a stalk of the lunch ladies' celery.
AND HE LOOKED DELICIOUS!
But this time Steve's human instincts are beginning to kick in, and he senses that eating their pet is not going to work with his classmates. The kids all cheer for Steve. He's their new class hero! They all want to sit with him at lunch, where fortunately, they see that his mom has discretely packed his dead bird this time between two slices of bread!
In his forthcoming, Steve, Raised by Wolves (Little, Brown and Company, 2015 Jared Chapman's off-beat sense of humor documents the familiar story of the kid who doesn't quite seem to get the school thing at first. After all, Steve was raised in a cave. But Steve seems on his way to settling in with his new pack and he proudly delivers another note to his mom when he gets off the bus that afternoon.
Steve had a GREAT DAY!
Every child comes to school out of a unique family culture and has to find a way to be himself or herself in the school setting, and kids will howl with self-conscious glee at Steve's faux pas on his first day.