The wolf in sheep's clothing appeared in Kraus's Fables Aesop Never Wrote; in this topsy-turvy tale, he meets his alter ego, a sheep in wolf's clothing. Strudwick the lamb, concerned that his true identity makes him easy prey, rents a wolf costume and parades past his barnyard friends. Unfortunately, he's not fooling anyone (``Don't try to pull the wool over our eyes!'' some other lambs tell him), so he decides to try his disguise on his near-sighted Grandpa. Shades of Little Red Riding Hood-Strudwick encounters the wolf on the way to Grandpa's house. The enemy is indeed dressed in white wool and has a craving for ``aged mutton,'' but Grandpa manages to frighten away the wolf with a lion outfit of his own. Kraus turns out busy mixed-media compositions of cut paper, cloth, photos, glitter, Elvis stamps and more, but the results are hit-or-miss. Some pictures are uproarious, others seem hastily thrown together. With so many disguises to figure out, however, the figurative meaning of ``a wolf in sheep's clothing,'' or vice versa, is lost amid the jest. Ages 5-up. (Apr.)
- Jan Lieberman
"Beware of the wolf in sheep's clothing! He just wants to make lamb chops of you," warned Strudwick's father, heading for the golf course! Strudwick proceeds to his grandpa's house to bring him some goodies, a la Red Riding Hood, but he disguises himself as a wolf! Mistaken identities, harrowing escapes and lots of laughs make this parody of a fable pure fun. Adults will appreciate the humor in the text and the collage illustrations. This is a read-it-again rib tickler.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Strudwick, a young sheep, decides to outwit that master of disguises-the wolf-by beating him at his own game. Renting a wolf suit, the lamb sets out to take his grandfather a basket of goodies. His costume doesn't fool anyone, but he manages to reach Grandpa's cottage safely. There he discovers the old sheep has scared away the real wolf by donning a costume of his own: a lion suit. The book will be most appreciated by children who know the story of Red Riding Hood, as they will be familiar with the identities created by the series of disguises. Kraus's quirky, mixed-medium collages are interesting and feature some unusual size relationships. For example, leaves of houseplants tower over the animals. Such juxtapositions serve to underscore the story's message that appearances often do not conform to reality. In both the text and illustrations, Kraus provides numerous discussion points as well as a thoroughly entertaining story.-Kathy Piehl, Mankato State University, MN
As he did in "Fables Aesop Never Wrote" , "New Yorker" cartoonist Kraus uses a distinctive collage technique to spoof a classic tale; this time, it's "Little Red Riding Hood." When Strudwick's dad warns his son about wolves in sheep's clothing, the young lamb decides two can play at that game. In a story filled with mistaken identities, bespectacled Strudwick is an innocent lamb in a wolf's suit; the sly wolf is a rather mangy sheep; and Grandpa is "aged mutton" in a lion costume. The writing is clever, the ending is upbeat, and the theme of competence is realized--Strudwick finally fools someone with his disguise. Composed of such unusual materials as chintz, fake flowers, zippers and Elvis stamps, the imaginative collage-style pictures are clever and absorbing. Delightful nonsense.