Lost in Translation #3 - Eye of the Wolf by Daniel Pennac

Hello wonderful readers !

Welcome to yet another article of the Lost in Translation meme ! Ok so it's the third, but still... :-D
And YES, I have invested in Photoshop to make a new logo! Admit it, you're already in love with it, right ?

This meme, hosted here, is organised to appeal to the curious international reader in you to discover foreign authors and even encourage you to read some books in their original language ! How exciting !

For a presentation of the meme, you can go here or email me here (I am very nice and though I have a slight infatuation with werewolves, I don't bite. Much.)

The meme has a few rules:
- Check if the book is translated in English and available (country and online/bookstores) and specify it in your post
- It would be nice to follow the "Language Corner" where you say to which level the book is suitable for the people who want to read the book in its original language
- And finally: Enjoy and Spread the love !

Are my eyes deceiving me? Could this be a wolf ? YAY !

So I will be writing a post on French Young Adult writer superstar Daniel Pennac. He has written many books for the 8+ and 12+ age range. He is massively studied in French schools. He has also written a few essays on school and how subjects are teached there. He is a very well known and praised personality in children literature in France.

Eye of the Wolf 
by Daniel Pennac

I don't usually review books in this age range, but I still like how those writers describe very profound issues with the simplest words. I am sure you've already had a conversation with a child about important issues and have been wondering how that freckled kid could understand some things way better than you do and don't understand why you have to be so complicated about everything ?
Sometimes, you just learn listening to those kids and their vision of the world (and other times, after watching a Dora episode for the 50th time, you might not). Eye of the Wolf was published in 1984 in France but was only translated and published in English in 2003.

Born worlds apart, a wolf from Alaska and a boy from Africa share their extraordinary stories in this magical tale from master storyteller Daniel Pennac, translated by award-winning translator Sarah Adams. The wolf has lost nearly everything on his journey to the zoo - including his eye and his beloved pack. The boy has lost nearly everything too, and seen many terrible things. As they face each other on either side of the wolf's enclosure they share their stories in this captivating, mysterious and utterly unforgettable tale. Summary from Amazon.

This story has reminded me a lot of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. In the shortest book, you discover worlds you never thought existed and get to see animals in a different light. It is the type of book where children read one thing and adults read the same thing on another level and they can exchange ideas on the book. As a philosophical tale, the book can be read by anyone, from 8 to 88 years old (I mean, people above 88 can read it too, it's just an expression), and still be appreciated.

I like how the wolf and the boy both suffer from the cruelty of men. I find it to be an interesting twist that a harsh life would be thrust upon a strong animal and a harmless baby in more or less the same way.

I also like how the issue of industrialisation and its consequences on nature are hinted from the perspective of the animals. And each animal portrayed in the book is very well developed and interesting, from the fun personalities of the Alaskan wolves to the rich personalities of the African animals.

I find that there is a message of hope given in the book where friendship is possible between two different species who can hunt/eat each other. This friendship is reached through knowledge and communication. The wolf and the boy come from different worlds, but they can lean on each other. Yes, I love this song (Lean on me) and secretly want you to love it too. I find it very sweet that the boy chooses to close one eye to be on equal grounds with the wolf.

The French edition I read had very cute illustrations every few pages, the British and American editions don't have exactly the same (the illustrator differs), but hopefully, they are just as beautiful !

It is a very easy read and it is such a beautiful and touching story that anyone can read the book and fall in love for all its amazing characters. It is also the type of book that both a child and a parent can read and where they can talk about it together (which would be quite the whole point of the book, you know, friendship, family, love, all that).

Language Corner:
This book, being meant for a young audience, is a very easy read. If you haven't practiced your French in a while, it is a good way to start again with a simple yet entertaining story.

Where to find the book:
UK: Waterstones, Amazon
USA: Barnes and Nobles, Amazon

To take part in the meme :
- Write your name
- The name of your blog
- In parenthesis if it is the first, second time or more you participate
- In parenthesis which language it is
- Link to the LiT post, not your blog !

Exemple: Caroline @ Portrait of a Woman (3, French)

If what you post doesn't look like that, I will retaliate. Live in fear.


  1. Eyes of the Wolf sounds like an amazing story! You're right, children seem to have a special gift with understanding complicated things in a very uncomplicated manner. Quality YA/MG books may be written with simple words, but like you mentioned, they still contain important messages and themes. Great post Caroline!

  2. Sounds like a great book. I actually love The Little Prince, so the fact you've made that comparison intrigues me.

    Oh, and your photoshop skills are awesome! I'm impressed.

  3. My Photoshop skills are amazing, it's not like I took an already made picture and added the pink title. No no. *very very innocent look*

  4. Brilliant review! I love the themes in this too. I love how it makes you look at the world through different perspectives.

    Loving the new Lost in Translation logo Caroline!