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Reviewed by Cecelia Hopkins for Readers' Favorite
Golden Ears: The Pale Skulls by Jane H. Wood begins as Edmund researches in the historic library in Edmonton to resolve the disappearance of his wolf friend, GoldenEars. In the archive section, he meets Joe, who recognizes him as a “Shadow Follower” and teaches him Blackfoot legends. Returning to Huxforest Wildlife Reserve, Edmund learns that something monstrous is attacking livestock on neighboring farms. He must search for the “Buffalo Stone”, all the while hunted by mysterious “pale skull” creatures. Edmund’s journey takes him far into the caves, and along a path only he can follow. On the outside again, the rangers continue their battle to banish the skull creatures, and create a safe haven for the wolves. At one point it seems that all is lost, and GoldenEars tumbles into a ravine. Edmund must recover the will to live; several bonds have to be resolved, and he has his work as a ranger to continue with.
GoldenEars by Jane H. Wood presents a charming combination of animal fantasy and adventure. Wood has created an empathetic character in Edmund, the newly qualified ranger. I really identified with his longing to be reunited with his animal companion, and eagerly followed his mission. The withdrawal of the wolves into the other realm formed a sustaining metaphor for their being an endangered species, and the conservation message was clear as the rangers struggle to set up a protected environment. Wood cleverly personified the canines, making them appealing. GoldenEars by Jane H. Wood is suitable for young adult and new adult audiences.