The Wolves Return cover

By Celia Godkin & Celia Godkin

The Wolves Return

In 1995 – 96, gray wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park. To researchers’ surprise, the wolves ended up positively impacting the entire ecosystem and landscape. Informational pages with further historical and scientific information complete this illustrated narrative.

In 1995 – 96 twenty-three grey wolves were released in Yellowstone National Park where, due to over-hunting, there had been no wolves at all for almost seventy years. This reintroduction project was an overwhelming success.

Over twenty years later we can still see the changes the grey wolves brought to Yellowstone National Park. Now that the elk graze higher ground, seedlings are growing tall, rivers are getting deeper as beavers return, and a lively pond ecosystem is developing. This true story offers an important lesson about the difference one creature can make in creating a healthy, thriving world.

Acclaimed environmental author and illustrator Celia Godkin delivers an inspiring, feel-good environmental story that is the perfect follow up to her most recent nonfiction picture book, Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World, a Bank Street Best Book that was also shortlisted for several awards. The Wolves Return features Godkin’s evocative, full-spread pencil crayon and watercolour illustrations and is further enhanced by extensive information on the Yellowstone Wolf Project, including maps and statistics that will fascinate young animal lovers and inquisitive minds.

Available In


Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1-77278-011-6
List Price: $19.95 CAD / $17.95 USD
Hardback with picture book & reinforced binding & with printed dust jacket
Trim Size: 10.00 x 9.00 inches / 25.4 x 22.86cm
Pages: 32

Distributed in Canada by University of Toronto Press

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

Carton Quantity: 22

About this book

Awards and Honours

  • 2018 Canadian Children's Literature Roundtables Information Book Award (Short-listed) (Canada)
  • 2017 School Library Journal blogger Betsy Bird's "2017 Science & Nature Books" selection (Commended) (United States)
  • 2017 Best Books for Kids & Teens Starred Selection (Commended) (Canada)



Praise for The Wolves Return: A New Beginning for Yellowstone National Park

2018 Canadian Children’s Literature Roundtables Information Book Award finalist

2017 School Library Journal blogger Betsy Bird’s “2017 Science & Nature Books” selection

2017 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens selection

“The clear, matter-of-fact text is a lovely complement to the warm scenes, which include vistas, underwater habitats, and close-ups. Additional information about the history of the park and the importance of the wolves to the ecosystem closes this lovingly illustrated, educational volume.”—Booklist

“Godkin eloquently examines how the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park led to dramatic changes both in the landscape of the park and in the lives of the creatures that make their home there.”—Publishers Weekly

“Beautifully illustrated by the author in watercolor and color pencil, each spread brims with the diversity of animals, plants, and insects presently thriving in Yellowstone. Young ones will enjoy the positive takeaway, and the picture book format makes a complex story accessible and usable in a wide range of early education classes. VERDICT Valuable for children for its affirming environmental message and to counteract the ‘big bad wolf’ image of these necessary predators.”—School Library Journal

“Beautifully illustrated, this book shows the lingering effects and the impact that animals at the top of the food chain have on the environment.”—Book Links

“Godkin succinctly outlines the species that have enjoyed success as a result of the return of the wolf to Yellowstone…Young readers will enjoy seeing all the animals and plants that now flourish as a result of one change in an ecosystem. Godkin’s illustrations, created with pencil crayon and watercolor, are all two-page spreads and just beautiful.”—Ingram Library Services

“The illustrations are beautifully rendered, moving and evocative. They increase the emotional impact of the words, showing many creatures against the natural backgrounds of the park….The Wolves Return is a handsome book with an uplifting environmental message, one that avoids sounding like a textbook….Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine

“The illustrations are beautifully done in pencil crayon and watercolour….[Celia Godkin’s] telling of this true environmental success story is well told and inspirational. It is important to relay such stories. The end of the book has the fascinating history of the wolf in North America with a map.”—Resource Links Magazine

“By demonstrating the complexity of seemingly simple problems and apparently simple solutions, this clear explanation of cause and effect relationships will encourage its 6-to-9 year old audience to think critically about humanity’s interventions in the environment.”—Teaching Librarian Magazine

“[A]n engaging, accessible text and expressive mixed-media illustrations.”—ILA Literacy Daily, “STEM Stories”

The Wolves Return explains in picture and in narrative how the reintroduction of the wolves, a natural predator of the elk, impacted positively on the whole environment….The mixed media art work in The Wolves Return is especially sensitively done and greatly enhances the exciting environmental health restoration true story.”—Midwest Book Review

“A beautifully illustrated book about the interconnected web of natural life, The Wolves Return is highly recommended for personal, school, and public library collections.”—Midwest Book Review

“[A] beautifully and a realistically illustrated picture book. It offers young readers just the right amount of text and back story…”—Baker & Taylor’s CATS Meow

“The illustrations of the wildlife are beautifully rendered in lush colors….This is a great introduction for younger children to the impacts of animals on our world.”—Youth Services Book Review

“This could be complicated subject matter for younger audiences to assimilate, but Celia Godkin…has presented the material persuasively in clear, direct language….it is systematically shown how one change in the ecosystem leads to the next, leaving readers in awe of the fascinating chain of life and fragile balance of nature. The text is enhanced by compelling, vivid illustrations….Aimed at young children, adults and older children will also find wonder and a salutary message in this handsome book that prompts much thought on the complexity and resilience of nature.”—Canadian Children’s Book News

“The artwork in this book…provides a gentle introduction to an often maligned animal in western history and folklore. The mixed media varies from brilliant colours to gentle tones of the natural world.”—ASLC LitPicks

“With The Wolves Return, Celia Godkin is able to inform, fascinate and initiate dialogue about the world we impact in both negative and positive ways and how it can gloriously amend itself sometimes with just a tiny bit of help.”—CanLit for LittleCanadians

“We rated this book: [4.5/5]…I loved The Wolves Return…I loved the illustrations because they looked so real and had a lot of details. The author is also the illustrator. I would like to read other books by this author.”—Kids’ Book Buzz

“Ecology is a complex topic, but Celia Godkin does a great job with explaining biological correlations to children from preschool to middle school age….What wakes the love for nature are her artwork: True-to-life pencil and watercolor illustrations capture the attention of children and adults from the first page on….Celia Godkin does an expert job! The appendix of the book gives a short overview of the history of wolves in the US and is a great add on for older children, teacher and parents.”—The Reading Castle

“My favorite aspect of the book…are the beautiful illustrations that give the reader a peek into the natural world of the wolf. The additional information and photographs at the end of the book are certainly a great boon for teachers and other users who want to know more about the topic.”—Geo Librarian

“Celia Godkin does a truly admirable job of presenting the project in terms children will understand. The language is clear, the telling is positive and brings awareness for the remarkable results….Written for a younger audience, it will have impact for older readers as well. While much is learned about biodiversity and the environment, it is presented in a most appealing format.”—Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“My son and I enjoyed this book and we especially liked that on the front and back inside covers are the names and illustrations of all the plants and animals in the book.”—Laura Fabiani & son, Library of Clean Reads

“The colourful illustrations will certainly appeal to children, especially those who are already animal lovers. I appreciate the information pages regarding the history of wolves in North America. I can’t say enough about this beautiful book that contains such important life lessons. I highly recommend it.”—Sandra Olshaski, Library of Clean Reads

“Each turn of the page shows another glory of nature able to perform again its vivid song, as the positive, un-domino effect takes place. What a hopeful, gladsome journey!”—Orange Marmalade Books

“It was fascinating to read about how much the area changed, both in diversity of the creatures…to the health of the animals that always lived there.”—Book Time


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Additional Resources

Teaching Guide

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