A common theme in children's booksbeing an outsideris given a striking twist in collage-master Fanelli's visual extravaganza. Each page is filled with quirky depictions of city life (magenta skyscrapers, sidewalks made of newspaper) and cartoon-like city dwellers, and, despite the appearance of trees and animals, the tone of the book is stark and urban. Wolf sets off to the city in search of friends, but scares everyone he meets. His only warm reception is from children playing with masks, and they let him play along until they realize the "mask" is Wolf's real face. Wolf concludes that if he disguises his real self, he will be accepted. Fanelli seems to be saying that intimate contact can't happen in the city, and after Wolf leavesfleeing for his lifehe finally sees a smiling face (on another outcast) and makes a friend. In the end, the urbanites see the error of their ways and sit down with Wolf for a picnic. Fanelli (My Map Book) once again makes a bold artistic statement with a graphic pastiche that combines paint, paper, fabric and photographs. The artist's sophisticated arrangement of varied shapes and bold colors draws the eye, but the unconventional type is awkwardly placed and may hinder readers' enjoyment of the unusual layout. In addition, Wolf's triumph may seem simplistic to adults; however, Fanelli's eclectic and artful illustrations will win over many readers of all ages. Ages 4-8. (May)
PreS-Gr 2When a disarming but unkempt wolf sets out to make some new friends, he encounters fear and prejudice at every turn of the page. Only when he finally meets someone who smiles at himanother wolfare his detractors suitably chastened and ultimately won over. Fanelli's fanciful collages engage readers and invite closer examination, while setting an appropriately playful tone for Wolf's misadventures. Inventive page design and the interplay of color and texture enhance and amplify the narrative. Hand-stamped letters form the text and become part of the design. While the text itself seems at first stiff and unrhythmic, when read aloud with exaggerated naivet, it suits the earnestness of the story to a tee. Such simple, unadorned language and dynamic, unfettered design are the strengths of this quirky and endearing picture book, elevating it above the didactic and the mundane. A well-choreographed production for one-on-one sharing.Marcia Hupp, Mamaroneck Public Library, NY
Fanelli (My Map Book, 1995, etc.) turns the idea of the wolf at the door on its head in this offbeat story. Wolf goes to town to make some friends, but everyone is frightened of him, even when he puts on a mask. Discouraged, he wanders toward home, encounters a girl wolf (you can tell by her fur bows), and pours out all his troubles. The townspeople who were chasing him see the error of their ways, and everyone joins in a picnic with a family of wolves in the forest. Fanelli's art is characteristically quirky: bits of advertising and newsprint collage, scribbled line, matte color, and squiggly-type design. Not everyone will be enchanted; this is mostly for those who already find Fanelli's eccentricities winning.