Good Little Wolf

Good Little Wolf

by Nadia Shireen
     
 

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Rolf, a small, gentle wolf, lives with Mrs. Boggins, who tells him he is a good little wolf. But when he meets up with a large, ferocious wolf, he is told that he isn't a real wolf. Wolves aren't little and good—they are big and bad. To prove he is a real wolf,  the old wolf  tells Rolf he must perform certain tasks, such as blowing down a little

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Overview

Rolf, a small, gentle wolf, lives with Mrs. Boggins, who tells him he is a good little wolf. But when he meets up with a large, ferocious wolf, he is told that he isn't a real wolf. Wolves aren't little and good—they are big and bad. To prove he is a real wolf,  the old wolf  tells Rolf he must perform certain tasks, such as blowing down a little pig's house. Rolf is a total failure . . . until the big bad wolf urges him to do something unspeakable to old Mrs. Boggins. Then the good little wolf proves that he can stand up to the big bad bully. Or so it seems. More mature readers may find a different ending that could lead to a great discussion! Using familiar storybook characters and an endearing new hero,  Nadia Shireen makes her debut in this winning picture book.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For her debut, Shireen borrows some familiar characters—the toothy wolf, the home-owning pig, the sweet-tempered grandmother—making her story a bit like a party where you already know most of the guests. Wide-eyed Rolf, the good little wolf of the title, eats his vegetables and is always nice to his friends, but he can’t howl properly or blow his friend Little Pig’s house down. When a Big Bad Wolf threatens his elderly friend Mrs. Boggins (who looks like she just wandered in from South Park), “something quite strange came over Rolf. He felt an unfamiliar, wild feeling growing inside him.” In a droll parody of the classic werewolf transformation, wide-eyed, stumpy Rolf becomes a monster with fangs and claws, foiling the Big Bad Wolf in a particularly satisfying way. Shireen’s tight pacing and economical prose push the story forward, and her words and pictures play smartly off each other. The sinister twist ending comes out of the blue, proving that Good Little Wolves are indeed a rare breed—there’s one less of them around after the last page is turned. Ages 4–8 (Sept.)
From the Publisher
Publishers Weekly, August 15, 2011:
"Shireen’s tight pacing and economical prose push the story forward, and her words and pictures play smartly off each other."

NYTimes.com, September 7, 2011:
"Shireen’s quirky illustrations are amusing and distinctive, and the story’s tweaking of children’s fairytale plots works...for those mischievous young listeners who enjoy a good bad ending."

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November 2011:
"...zesty mixed-media illustrations...[and] some wolfishly amusing unjust deserts here."

Kirkus Reviews

When Rolf, a good little wolf, encounters the archetypal big baddie, justice is nearly—but not quite—served.

Rolf's granny-ish best friend Mrs. Boggins praises his goodness but cautions him that some wolves are "downright bad." Promptly, he meets just such a specimen—enormous, jet-black, toothy and yellow-eyed. The Big Bad Wolf instructs Rolf in true wolfishness, and the pup unsuccessfully tries howling at the moon ("pheep!") and blowing Little Pig's house in. When a wild power does arise in him, Rolf uses it to entangle the large wolf in Mrs. Boggins' knitting yarn. When the three sit then down amicably for "some tea and cake" Rolf asks if the wolf will stop eating people. " 'Oh, I suppose so,' said the Big Bad Wolf... / 'I'll stop first thing tomorrow.' " Rolf and Mrs. Boggins are conspicuously absent from that next spread (perturbing, for younger preschoolers). The BBW, belly distended, muses over his cuppa in a green armchair. Shireen's debut misses the mark by too casually fracturing folkloric elements. When Rolf asks to blow his house in, the Little Pig says "You can try, I suppose," and even apologizes when Rolf's effort fails. While the graphically arresting layout features bold-hued, well-telegraphed interplay between childish innocence and lupine malevolence, the depiction of Mrs. Boggins as a frozen-faced, smiling South Park–esque twit further detracts.

Visually interesting, but flawed. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pamela Paul
Shireen's quirky illustrations are amusing and distinctive, and the story's tweaking of children's fairytale plots works for the most part, even if the macabre ending, in which the narrator's identity is revealed, conflicts with the book's otherwise mild tone. But this will make it no less enjoyable for those mischievous young listeners who enjoy a good bad ending.
—The New York Times
School Library Journal
K-Gr 1—Rolf is a good little wolf who likes baking cakes, eating his vegetables, and being nice to his friends, especially Mrs. Boggins. Then a Big Bad Wolf tells him that he is not a real wolf unless he howls at the moon, blows down houses, and eats people up. Rolf fails the first two tests, but when the BBW threatens Mrs. Boggins, he feels "an unfamiliar, wild feeling growing inside him…" and things change—for the moment. After subduing the BBW and rescuing his elderly friend, they all sit down to tea, and Rolf asks, "Will you stop eating people up?" The BBW answers, "Oh, I suppose so….I'll stop first thing tomorrow." The next illustration shows the villain with a big belly licking his chops and smiling—alone on the page. The very simple cartoon illustrations, created with pencil, ink, and collages, include rather scary-looking pictures of the sharp-toothed beast. This is not a book for sensitive preschoolers, but kindergarteners and first graders will probably enjoy the fun.—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375869044
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
09/13/2011
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
723,732
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 10.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

NADIA SHIREEN has been drawing all her life and recently received her MA in Children's Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art in England. This is her first picture book.

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