"A lovely, haunting weave of fable and fairytale, THE WOLF HOUR will claw its way into your heart and sing to your soul." —Liesl Shurtliff, New York Times Bestselling author of Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood

"Fairy tales are precarious places for girls and wolves. In a brash, dazzling break with tradition, Sara Lewis Holmes arms a woodcutter's daughter and a sensitive wolf pup with a means of defense against the old familiar roles that threaten to swallow them whole. The story of how they come together to rewrite fate is bewitchingly delicious; you'll gobble it up." -- Christine Heppermann, author of Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty

The Wolf Hour

Arthur A. Levine Books, 2017

Gr 5–8—A metafictional retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood." In the Puszcza, an ancient forest with magical roots, fairy tales are real—magicked and crafted into being by a sly Witch. But two characters, Magia, a brave woodcutter's daughter in a red cap; and Martin, a wolf who loves to read and is curious about humans, don't fit their prescribed roles. When Magia's family is threatened, she sets out for the dark forest. Martin does the same after his beloved mother goes missing. The two are on a collision course, but will their stories follow the same old path readers have come to expect? In a heady mix of folklore and fantasy, Holmes offers a meditation on fate, expectations, and the ability of people to determine their own futures. It is also an exploration of stories and the ways story can be used to harm, misinform, and alienate—a timely topic indeed. Flowery syntax and a sprinkling of Polish terms make this a sophisticated read best suited to fantasy and fairy tale lovers with an appreciation for language. VERDICT Unique and challenging, this retelling will be welcomed by fans of Gregory Maguire's Egg and Spoon and Kelly Barnhill's The Girl Who Drank the Moon.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal


Charlotte: "Magia is one of the most lonely heroines I've read this year, and it was easy to sympathize and mentally encourage her as she pressed onward. Not only does she have fight an evil, magical antagonist, she has to resist the expectations of ordinary human folk, making her very relatable. Martin the wolf, with his penchant for a good book, and failed efforts to break the story of the three little pigs (not because he knew that's what he was doing, but because he simply was not interested in being a vicious killer), is one of my favorite wolf characters ever, and possibly even more relatable! His efforts to communicate with the pigs never work; he never found the right words to get them to listen (which was, within the framework of the story they're trapped in, not possible in any event, but I felt for him as he tried his best)."


"Holmes' eerie, anachronistic storytelling style is perfectly suited for this postmodern fairy tale pastiche. . . . Holmes' dreamy narrative is not to be missed for fans of fairy tales and fairy tale retellings." -- Booklist

"This might land well with fans of Ursu's Breadcrumbs, and the triumphant conclusion could please fans of fairy tales with happy endings." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"With its vivid Eastern European–flavored setting, dreamlike internal logic, and hopeful ending, this re-casting of traditional folklore will captivate readers." ---The Horn Book

"This is a true fairy tale, a deep forest of a book. The Wolf Hour swallowed me whole." -- Laurel Snyder, author of Orphan Island

"The narration of this audiobook is spectacular. Thérèse Plummer brings power, venom, and precision, and David de Vries demonstrates equal power, along with warmth and humor. They transport listeners into the Polish Puszcza--a forest cold, dark, and full of magic. And wolves. And stories." ---AudioFile (Earphone Award)

Finding Wonderland: THE WOLF HOUR is a "Once upon a time" type of tale, but stories don't always actually start that way for writers. What was the starting point of this story for you? What initially inspired you to write this book, and which character(s) sprang to mind first?

Sara Lewis Holmes: I’m more like a magpie than a spider when it comes to story. I don’t spin a carefully symmetric web of plot and character out of my guts, as much as I would love to say I do. Rather, I collect shiny baubles over the years, hoarding and obsessing over them until I figure out how to make a story out of all the strange beauty.

For THE WOLF HOUR, those glittering pieces included: a conversation with a stranger about why some instruments howl when played, the image of a child clinging to a tree rather than be forced to lessons, a rotund china pig given to me by my mother-in-law, and a former piano teacher whose entire house bloomed with pink.

Those elements were in my magpie’s nest of a journal but it took an encounter with a wolf to set them free. Not a real wolf, although I’d seen one, in a carefully fenced wolf park, and listened to one howl in a chilling YouTube video, and read about many in both fairy tale and fact—-but one whose voice stole into the forest of words crowding my head, and told me that if I wanted to write about wolves, he would be my guide. His name was Martin, and he had been raised by books, and knew everything about everything—-except the human heart. I could not help but love him, and be terrified for his future, too.

My Books

Stories are real
Military kids + improv
What would you write from YOUR tower?