.The Big Bad Wolf and Me
Written and Illustrated by Delphine Perret; Translated by Shannon Rowan
Sterling, 2006, 64 pp.
A young boy is on his way home from school when he sees an animal that he assumes is a dog. After attempting to speak to the animal with a few phrases, such as “good doggy,” the slouching creature announces he is a wolf—The Big Bad Wolf. However, the wolf believes that no one is afraid of him anymore and his confidence is obviously gone. Thus begins the story of helping a depressed talking wolf return to his scary personality. The wolf is invited to live in the boy’s closet as they read stories about the wolf, eat chocolate chip cookies, watch television, and practice scary appearances and sounds.
Humor is found in both the text and in the illustrations, as both use realistic simplicity to develop this imaginary tale. The penciled cartoon-like images with dialogue captions develop the story in 12 brief chapters, narrated by the boy. Each page renders 3-4 scenes that share humorous insights into this unlikely developing friendship. Created with slight lines of blue for the boy and brown for the wolf, the cream colored background provides open space for readers to focus and acknowledge the humorous images of the story. Subtle humor lies in the dialogue as it reflects innocent questions and efforts on the part of the boy to revive the wolf’s spirit while the wolf tries to regain his dignity by cooperating with the boy. The end pages reflect the success of the duo with the opening end-page revealing an image of the boy roaring at the shaken wolf while the final end-page image shows a newly confident wolf scaring the boy with a roar.
Delphine Perret is a French author/illustrator for children who, prior to The Big Bad Wolf and Me, published six other books in France and has continued her work to include in 2013, a sequel, The Big Bad Wolf Goes on Vacation. In the sequel, Perret continues the wolf’s story with similar art and dialogue as the wolf decides to accompany the boy and his grandfather on vacation. Perret’s artistic beginnings were at the École des arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg where she graduated in 2003. She is inspired by everyday occurrences in creating her books. More information can be found about Perret at her website.
Other books to pair with this one, besides its sequel, might be The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf and Grandma (Diane and Christyan Fox, 2014) or The Story Starts Here! (Caroline Merola, 2014), both reviewed in this issue of WOW Review. Other titles that can make up an enjoyable text set on wolves with a contemporary flair are included in the reviews of these two books.
Janelle Mathis, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas