Friday, 22 February 2013

Beyond the Timberland Trail

The dustjacket for Beyond the Timberland Trail states:

Beyond the Timberland Trail marks a new phase in the work of this animal story writer. Leaving the English scene for the Barrens of North-West Canada, he tells the story of three generations of wolves. It was Olee Perrault, the trapper, who first expressed the opinion that the wolves "Grey Shadow", "Keewaydin", and "Dark Starlight", had dog blood in their veins. How right he was in his assertion became only too clear in the light of subsequent events: The struggle of the wolves against the blood of Klaus, the Shepherd dog, their hazardous adventures against famine, blizzard and the wiles of man, makes a gripping story,  heightened by the dramatic austerity of the Northland. How the blood of Klaus triumphs in the end over three generations of wolves, brings to a satisfactory conclusion a story written in prose so striking that it makes the reading of the book a refreshing experience for young and old alike. Splendidly illustrated by Raymond Sheppard.


Jospeh E(ugene) Chipperfield, (1951). Beyond the Timberland Trail A Hutchinson Junior Novel. London: Hutchinson. The American edition published in 1953 by Longmans, Green and Co. was illustrated by Zhenya Gay. According to Jane Badger Books, Chipperfield was born in Cornwall on 20 April 1912 and died on 3 Jan 1976 and wrote many animal (horse and dogs) books.

The Frontispiece is taken from the cover and shows three Eskimos (Inuits) herding reindeer down a snowy gap and one man points to the pack of wolves behind the herd

Opposite page 30 (Grey Shadow section)
One wolf pins another to the snowy ground whilst the pack look on

Opposite page 140 (Keewaydin section)
Defending his cub, Keewaydin attacks a lynx,whilst Rhuroo the Golden Eagle flies in

Opposite page 164 (Dark Starlight section)
Five wolves attack the three oxen in the snow

Sheppard's strengths in animal painting and drawing are shown off well in these pieces and the colour is vibrant. The compositions are full of action with the eye being drawn in circular motions back into the pictures. Note also how Sheppard has drawn outlines in some parts and not in others. He uses the colour differences to work as contrast between two 'lines' rather than label the point of difference between two contrasting sections.  

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