Review Blog

Sep 18 2019

Who's afraid of the quite nice wolf? by Kitty Black

cover image

Illus. by Laura Wood. New Frontier Press. ISBN: 9781925594706.
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Wolves, Fairy tale, Fractured fairy tale, Appearance. With the bad wolves living up to the reputation of big bad wolves lolling against the wall, our tea drinking hero just doesn't add up. All the fun of a fractured fairy tale is here as our quite nice wolf trains the sheep to stand up for themselves in the face of the wolf pack.
Our hero, Wilfred loves tending his garden and having afternoon tea with the sheep and chickens, much to the dismay of the wolves that howl in the background. The wolves try and teach Wilfred how to be a big bad wolf, but it just doesn't work, especially when he tells them that he is a vegetarian.
They tell him that they are to attack the flock of sheep the next night and he is to be with them. He considers how to avoid this hideous task, and in waking Mildred tells her his plan. When the wolves attack the flock they are frightened off by the skills the newly trained sheep exhibit and get into their car and go away.
This is a wonderful laugh out loud read. Children will guffaw at the images of the big bad wolf, the group's dress contrasting mightily with Wilfred's neat slacks and braces, bow tie and buttoned up shirt. He picks flowers, uses a watering can, tends his garden, makes cakes for morning tea, reads books and wears lovely spotted pyjamas.
Children will have fun seeing the contrast between the big bad wolf image promoted in some fairy tales, and the image within this story, leading to a discussion of the term parody and looking at other fractured fairy tales.
Fran Knight

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