Wolfish stew by Suzi Moore

cover image

Ill. by Erico Salcedo. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408844953
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Humour, Wolves, Rabbits, Read aloud. Rabbit loves to forage in the forest, but is warned to beware of the blue bushy tail. This tail belongs to the blue wolf, well known for wanting a rabbit to put in his stew. This delightful tale ends a little unusually when the wolfish stew is not the one we expect to see.
In rhyming lines, the tale unfolds of rabbit roaming through the woods. He finds some carrots, and some berries, and sits for a while for a picnic on his rug with a pot of coffee. Each page exhorts the grey rabbit to watch out for the wolf, while readers will call out the name of the wolf's body part that appears hidden on the page. Great fun for young and old as we see blue bits in the shrubbery, up the tree, hidden as a stepping stone in the river. Readers will laugh out loud as the journey progresses, the grey rabbit avoiding any of the tricks the wolf may put in his way.
But wolf then has problems finding the rabbit until some of the other animals find a way to trap him instead.
All ends well with the wolfish stew being not what the wolf had in mind at all, and the grey rabbit's collection of carrots and vegetables collected on his walk go into the pot. For younger children this is a lovely hide and seek tale, a story teaching them about parts of the body, a classic tale of cat and mouse while learning about an array of vegetables for good measure.
Salcedo's illustrations reflect the humour of the story. The bold blue wolf will delight younger readers, especially the elongated snout, and the grey rabbit fixated on his errand with intrigue them. The range of things in the background begs to be identified and the end papers with their reprisal of the tablecloth with its covering of vegetables will encourage children to call out their names.
Fran Knight