A young wolf who has been taught good manners by his parents heads into the wolf to hunt alone for the first time. One of the most important rules is that he must honor the final wishes of his prey. When he nets a rabbit, the rabbit requests that the young wolf read him a story. So the wolf heads home to find his favorite book but when he returns to the woods, the rabbit has left. Next, the wolf captures a chicken who requests music. After the wolf returns with an instrument, the chicken is gone too. The wolf then captures a little boy, who asks for a drawing. The wolf almost doesn’t agree, but the little boy has said please. When the wolf returns, the boy is still there waiting! And the boy loves the picture so much that he wants to show his friends. In a twist ending that is both satisfying and wonderfully dark, the wolf finally succeeds in his hunt.
Leroy sets a brisk pace in this picture book where much of the dialogue is done in speech bubbles and the text is kept to a minimum. The book dashes along on the hunt with the wolf, to and fro from his house and back to his disappearing prey. As the book gains momentum thanks to the repeating pattern, Leroy breaks it and moves ahead with the story at just the right time. It’s a wild and wolfish look at manners that everyone will enjoy.
Maudet’s illustrations convey the frustration of the young wolf very clearly. The wolf uses the book to capture the chicken and then leaves the instrument smashed on the ground in frustration. The limited color palette is filled with orange and red, played against gray and brown.
The book is completely wonderful, satisfying and the twist ending will leave children surprised and asking to hear it again. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.