Wolfie an unlikely hero by Deborah Abela

cover image

Ill. by Connah Brecon. Random House Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780143781509
(Age: 5-8) Recommended. 'I, The Wolf, am sick of being the bad guy. I'm taking over this book.'
Wolfie is cross, more than a little peeved with the negative portrayal of wolf's characteristics and actions in fairytales. In Wolfie An Unlikely Hero, the narrator repeatedly tries to move the narrative down a familiar path, but Wolfie steps in and strongly opposes these introductions. He enjoys the build up of characteristics - he is sleek and strong, perfectly nice, however he does not sneak up on innocent rabbits and sweet little piglets. He takes over the storytelling and informs the reader he's really a hero who rescued his cousin from drowning. This a battle of wits, the narrator will not stop with the conventional storyline, and once more the tale shows the wolf sneaking up on the chicken coop ready for a midnight snack.
Finally the story changes, the perfectly nice, brave wolf races across the 'rivers of ravenous crocs to rescue the princess held in a high tower'. Will this be a perfect fairytale ending? Wolfie pleads to be written as a different character, perhaps a wolf in shining armour. With a delightful and unsuspected ending, Wolfie is granted his wish, to be part of a rescue!
Deborah Abela's hilarious story is perfect for sharing at story time as her style of writing with the back and forth banter between Wolfie and the narrator is fabulous to read aloud. Connah Brecon's over-the-top stylised illustrations perfectly show Wolfie's character, and his sleek physique, turned up nose and matchstick arms with bulging muscles. His comic fairytale settings are fun to explore. They show the range of emotions felt by the main character and his potential victims, and the princess shows her own strength of character refusing the wolf's help.
Deborah Abela's Wolfie story supports the Year 1 - Year 3 English Curriculum with its persuasive text, and through investigating the representation of ideas in picture books.
Rhyllis Bignell