Runt (novel)

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Author Marion Dane Bauer
Country United States
Language English
Genre Children's literature
Publisher Clarion Books
Publication date
October 21, 2002
Pages 130
ISBN 978-0-618-21261-3
OCLC 49558730
LC Class PZ10.3.B317 Ru 2002

Runt is a 2002 children's novel written by Marion Dane Bauer. It tells of a story about a wolf pup who is a runt.


One spring day in the forests of Minnesota, a litter of 4 is born into a wolf pack led by King and his mate Silver. The pups are Leader, Sniffer, Runner, and Thinker.

The last pup looks much smaller than the others and his father gives him the name Runt. As Runt grows older, he still is smaller than the others but grows over time. At one point in Runt's life, he and Thinker leave the pack, and they mess with a porcupine who attacks them with quills. Runt is hit all over, and Thinker gets hit in the eye. They get back to the pack, but Thinker soon dies. King was so angry and sad. Runt thought he would be renamed twice; once he imagined the name "Brave One" when he howled at the humans, and another he thought he would be "Provider" when he brings back the tail of a cow. In the end he is named "Singer" for all the times he sang when he was happy, lonely or sad.


  • Runt/Singer: The protagonist of the book. A black pup with a white star on his chest (just like his father, The King), Runt is the youngest and smallest pup born to King and Silver. He gets his name "Singer" for his howling, which he did not do during the majority of the book, after his brother Thinker dies. Before being christened with said name, Runt thought he would get the name "Brave One" (when he howled at humans) and "Provider" (when he brought back the tail of a cow).
  • King: The alpha male of Runt's pack as well as the father of Runt, Helper, Hunter, Leader, Sniffer, Runner, and Thinker. King is strongly against the idea of hunting down cows, much to Bider's chagrin. Mate of Silver.
  • Silver: Mate of King, Silver gets her name from her silvery gray pelt. She is the mother of Runt, Leader, Sniffer, Thinker, Runner, Helper, Hunter, and two little pups who died before they came out of the den.
  • Other Pack King: A wolf who only shows up for a short time; Runt mistook him for his mother. His pack is near King's territory.
  • Bider: A white wolf who is basically the outcast of the pack. Bider is also one of the best hunters in the pack,but Bider and King have rivalry between each other and in one point in the book,King and Bider get in a fight after Bider brings back some prey (From a poisoned cow carcass,but if Bider knew he wouldn't have eaten it). King wins (not by much) and banishes Bider from the pack.


Publishers Weekly described the book as a "tightly plotted, swiftly paced tale", while the School Library Journal called it "[b]eautifully written". In a starred review, Booklist said it was a "compelling, poignant story" and that "Bauer precisely and vividly conveys the wolves' wild world".[1] Runt is born in a wolf pack in Minnesota forest where only the strong animals survive in.