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Sunday, September 22, 2013

What's the Time, Mr. Wolf? Written and illustrated by Debi Gliori. Bloomsbury, Penguin. 2012. $10.99 ages 4 and up

"It is four o'clock in the
afternoon. Mr. Wolf takes
the shortcut home. It is cool
and shady under the trees.
'Time for a nap,' says Mr. Wolf.
He is nearly asleep when....


Oh, my kindergarten kids would have loved this book! Please, before you read it with your children at home or your students at school, be sure that they have been introduced to the fairy tales and nursery rhymes that will make the sharing so much more satisfying. If they have no prior knowledge of the many wonderful characters included here, they will miss out on the many joys it truly brings.
Too many children today have not heard any of those familiar-to-me rhymes and tales of old. They may know the Disney versions of some, but have no familiarity with the traditional folklore. So, there's a task for upcoming days!

Debi Gliori creates a brilliant and totally entertaining story of Mr. Wolf and the doings of his day. It starts when four and twenty blackbirds make sure he is awake to start his day off right. He is grumpy and disgruntled. When they ask the time, he suggests it might be time for blackbird pie! At each new hour of the day, someone begs the question about time. His responses are not especially agreeable. Teary and anxious, he goes about the business of his day, all the while wondering if his friends have forgotten that it is his birthday.

Each new hour brings consternation. Feeling peaky and in need of a snack at eleven o'clock in the morning, he goes inside:

"But when he goes to
his cupboard, it is bare -
even his dish has run off
with his spoon!"

This is not even close to the familiar surprise parties of other books. The plot may not be new, but the many text and picture clues offer brand new fun, and an abundance of entertainment and humor. When Red Riding Hood, who is the very efficient post girl, makes her rounds, she has letters for the frog prince, the little mermaid, and Mary and her lambs. Even the birds and dragonflies have mail. Mr. Wolf? No, sorry!

At every hour throughout the day, we are privy to what is happening with Mr. Wolf. Shopping at noon? Not only does it rain, but he has no umbrella. It can, and does, get worse! The poor guy...what a miserable way to spend your special day.

Keep your eyes peeled for the many different ways that time is told throughout this charmer! There is so much to see, and to discuss as you share it with little ones. You are sure to read it again and again...and you won't even mind. I guarantee it!!!

Who better to share this wondrous book with you than the author/illustrator herself? Enjoy!

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