Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

In Children of the Wolf, Jane Yolen spins a tale of friendship and betrayal adapted from the diary of a missionary who rescued two feral children from the Indian jungle in 1920. She tells the story through the eyes of an older Mohandas Jinnah as he looks back on events that shaped his life as a fourteen-year-old boy at the orphanage.

Mohandas, the second oldest boy at the orphanage and a writer at heart, begins with the night that “unraveled all our lives”; the night before he, Rama, and the Reverend Mr. Welles leave to hunt the reported manush-bagha (ghost) of a neighboring village. Life is peaceful, the moon is full, and Mohandas envies the daring Rama, who has snuck out to enjoy a night on the town. All this swiftly changes. Mohandas will discover the need to speak up and take decisive action, but he will be too late.

Mohandas, Rama, Mr. Welles, and several villagers track and capture the manush-bagha, which is actually two wild girls, one about ten and the other three, who have been living with a mother wolf and her pups in an abandoned termite mound. The girls, dubbed Kamala and Amala, are brought to the orphanage, and Mohandas is charged with teaching them to speak and to walk upright. He works diligently to be worthy of the responsibilities that Mr. Welles has entrusted to him. The assignment is difficult; the wolf-girls roll in the dust on their arms and legs, eat raw meat, capture lizards, soil...

(The entire section is 468 words.)