Wild at Heart?: Wolf Camp by Andrea Zuill
MY NAME IS HOMER.
I AM A DOG...
BUT SOMETIMES I AM VERY WOLFISH.
ALL DOGS HAVE A BIT OF WOLF IN THEM. IT'S BEEN PROVEN BY SCIENCE.
Homer is just a home-loving Joe Dog, your average cozy canine, a lazy layabout whose exercise mostly consists of checking his food bowl and subduing his stuffed toy, Mr. Moose.
But Homer is convinced that deep in his heart there lurks an inner wolf, one that only needs a walk on the wild side to bring out his true nature. What he needs is a week in the woods under the tutelage of his primal cousins to release his untamed inner self.
So when a flyer turns up in his kibble bag from an outfit called Wolf Camp, Homer gets busy lobbying his humans to sign him up. Boarding the bus, Homer, er, sniffs out his bunk mates, and bonds with Rex, a typical goofball Lab, and Trixie, a petite but perky Chihuahua. They suffer through a boring orientation session with their counselors, Fang and GRRR, before they get down to their first wolf lessons--marking (Not on my foot, Rex!), howling (Trixie can manage only an unimpressive y-i-i-p), and tracking (Look! A bunny!!!). Then the intrepid campers get a taste of the fruits of the hunt:
"IT'S GOT HAIR ON IT!"
Homer writes home:
The food here is yucky. Please send me some of Grandma's Polly's Pampered Doggie Snacks (the bacon-flavored ones.) Also my flea medicine. Because there are a lot of bugs here, and they are gross!
At last it's time to head to the bunkhouse. Homer is pooped and more than ready for his doggy bed.
WHEN IT GOT DARK, WE FOUND OUT HOW REAL WOLVES SLEEP.
(THEY DON'T. THEY HOWL!)
Will this trio of unlikely wannabe wolves wash out at Wolf Camp? Well, all's well that ends wild, and as the bus pulls out of camp and heads down the trail for home, they are singing their camp song--ARROOOOOOOOOOOO!--all the way home, in Andrea Zuill's hilarious romp on the wild side, Wolf Camp (Schwartz and Wade, 2016). Her cartoon canines are perfect for their roles as would-be wolves, and although it's unlikely that Homer, Rex, and Trixie have perfected being rapacious, predaceous, and voracious, they do manage to have a howling good time, as will young readers, especially those who have also put in some time in the wilds of sleepover camp.
Andrea Zuill's storytelling is toothsome, and her illustrations, with plenty of sight gags to extend the text, are wildly funny, incorporating clever camp signs and thought balloons to chronicle the canine transition to wolfdom along the way. A dandy debut picture book by author-illustrator Zuill, documenting every dog's dream of runnin' wild.