Wicked Wolf Tales
Retold by: Laura Cecil
Illustrated by: Emma Chichester Clark
Wicked Wolf Tales is a fairy tale collection about the big bad wolf. This book includes versions of Little Red Riding Hood, The Wicked Wolf and the Seven Little Kids, and Mr. W. Wolf- a humorous Italian folktale. Little Red Riding hood is very much like the one I am very familiar with. Little Red goes to give her sick grandma some treats. Along the way meets a wolf that goes ahead of her to her grandmother's house where he gobbles up granny and waits for Little Red. Little Red, however, gets away from him and a woodcutter saves her and granny. The Wicked Wolf and the Seven Little Kids was not a story I was familiar with. It has a goat mom and her 7 goat kids. She leaves them alone with instructions not to open the door. They however are tricked by the wolf and he gets in. He gobbles up 6 of the kids and leaves without finding the last one. When their mother returns she sets off with the one little kid left and finds the sleeping wolf. They cut out the baby kids, replace them with rocks, and sew him back up all without him knowing. He then goes to drink some water and falls in sinking to the bottom. The last story was also not a familiar one and Cecil writes that it is an Italian folktale. A little girl likes all things sweet but does not like school. She pretends to be sick to get out of work but misses out on the teachers sticky doughnuts. She wines to her mother who wants to make her some but her frying pan has a hole in it. She sends Daisy the little girl to get a pan from Mr. Wolf next door. He says they can borrow it if they return it with some doughnuts, lemonade, and bread. Daisy and her mother makes the doughnuts and all the treats for Mr. Wolf. Daisy's mother send in back to return the pan but on the way she eats the treats and replaces them with bad things. The wolf gets mad and says he will eat her in her sleep. He returns to their house that night and climbs down the chimney to eat her. They hide and she eats a doll instead. Daisy gets a stomach ache and decides she does not like sweet treats anymore.
Cecil writes a beautiful introduction about her book and about how she makes it for reading aloud with direct speech for the reader to join in. "The book also uses distinctive type styles to suggest sound effects, dramatic moments, and different voices in order to add variety and expression to reading aloud." I thought this note was wonderful to add to her book, especially for parents to invite them to read this story with their children and make it fun and engaging with voices and expression. The writing definitely leads itself to this. Although they are traditional type tales, Cecil adds her own voice by adding in extra pieces such as "Mama treats me like a baby." said little Red Riding Hood. This makes the character even more believable to children. I also love the way there are bold parts or different fonts that help to identify parts that can be livened up by ones voice. When she writes THUMP THUMP THUMP it goes across the page getting bigger, much like ones voice should do when you read it. The illustrations also add to the playfulness of the text. They are a mix between full bleed and white space. Sometimes the white space is arranged to encase the text in a circle or follows it along the page as it moves. The illustrator also uses fun kid friendly colors in her paint illustrations.
This would be a great addition to any unit on fairy tales. Not only does it include a more traditional tale like Little Red Riding Hood, but it also includes others that the children might not know. It also would be a great read aloud allowing children to be fully involved in the reading. I would also love to use it to compare/contrast the Wolf in each or each story. The children might even be inspired to write their own Wolf tale and make their own classroom collection of stories about the Wolf.