Big Bad Wolves at School

Big Bad Wolves at School by Stephen Krensky, illustrated by Brad Sneed. 

Rufus is a wild wolf who loves to run and howl at the moon.  His parents worry that he won’t be able to survive in the real world, so he is sent off to school to learn how to be a “big bad wolf.”  But Rufus doesn’t take to school life.  He would much rather blow on dandelions than practice blowing down houses.  He doesn’t want to learn to speak sheep.  And his howling bothers his classmates when they are trying to sleep.  Then hunters come to the school looking to kill some wolves.  The well-trained wolves head out, but their blowing and disguises don’t work well against the hunters.  Rufus’ howling on the other hand, works quite well.

The cover is so classic and will entice children to pick the book up and take it home.  The story is funny, the illustrations add to the humor, and the everyone can relate to a story of school life where they just are not in the same mode as everyone else. 

Recommended as a read aloud for elementary age classrooms where children will understand the school setting better.  The humor and sight gags will also be appreciated more by slightly older children than preschoolers. 

Un-brella

Un-brella by Scott E. Franson.

This wordless picture book is pure imagination.  It features a little girl who has a magical umbrella that changes the season.  So when she sees it is snowing out, she puts on her sunglasses, swimsuit and flippers.  She heads into the snow, opens her umbrella and suddenly grass is green, flowers are blooming and the sun is bright in a small area around her.  The book then shows her in the hot summer sun wearing all of her winter clothing and holding her umbrella, creating winter all around her.

The appeal of this book is in both the content and the illustrations.  The concept of being able to create your own season will be appealing to children and to have it connected to an umbrella is marvelous, because that is what umbrellas do to a smaller extent.  The illustrations feature sharp, computer graphics.  My favorite spreads are the pictures from above showing the path she has taken carving green grass out of the snow or snow out of the green grass. 

This is a charming book.  Being wordless, I would recommend it as a lap read rather than one to use with a group.  It’s friendly cover will get it snatched off of library shelves.