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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Good Little Wolf, written and illustrated by Nadia Shireen. Knopf, Random House. 2011. $18.99 ages 5 and up

'Rolf liked being a good little wolf.
He liked baking tasty cakes.
He ate up all his vegetables.
And he was always
nice to his friends."

I love surprise endings!

I am in awe of authors who can pull them off; and especially first time authors! It takes humor, talent and a healthy dose of knowledge about fairy tales to create a book that is sure to appeal to kids from kindergarten to middle years.

Rolf is a 'good little wolf'. He does all things expected of those who are good and the fact that a wolf's behavior is not always considered such is only the beginning of his tale. The storytime regulars, in attendance to hear a new adventure, will be familiar to those who have some experience with fairy tale characters. They include the three pigs, Red Riding Hood and the woodsman...oh, and Rolf!

Mrs. Boggins is Rolf's best friend and she appreciates that he is an alterego to most wolves that are known to humans. She warns him against others, who are not like him. As might be expected, it isn't long until he meets the real villain of so many stories.  The Big Bad Wolf assures Rolf that wolves are not supposed to be good...and he will mentor him in needed skills to take a real and expected role in the world. Rolf is an inept pupil. It seems his destiny is tied to goodness.

What about a turnabout? Will the Big Bad Wolf try being good? He says he'll give it a go...maybe tomorrow!!

The artist creaters wonderful, wacky illustrations that will capture attention and keep listeners involved and wanting more. Use of white space to give perspective and dark and light to show opposing sides of the good and evil spectum add to the humor and the appeal.

This is an auspicious debut picture book. I will be on the lookout for her next one.

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