The New York Times
Good Little Wolfby Nadia Shireen
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.
The New York Times
"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."
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)
- Cape, Jonathan Limited
- Publication date:
- Age Range:
- 4 - 8 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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