Wolf Cub’s Song by Joseph Bruchac; illustrated by Carlin Bear Don’t Walk. 2020. Published by Recraftbook.
Brief summary: Wolf Cub begins to cry in her den about being left alone. Mother Wolf comes in and tells her that Grandmother Moon is beginning to come out in the sky. The two go out together where the pup sees the other wolves from their pack. The family invites her to sing to the moon, as they all ran to the top of the hill. Wolf Cub sings for the first time to the moon while the others join in her song.
Comments: The illustrations blended many colors together. The story was a cute story of a pup learning that she is not alone. She has her mother and the family wolf pack to help her through life.
Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell; illustrated by Matthew Cordell. 2017. Pen, ink with watercolor. Published by Feiwel and Friends.
Brief summary: A young girl walks to school in the snow but leaves due to a blizzard. She gets lost in the whiteout at the same time a young wolf pup does too. They meet each other where she picks him up as the snow is too deep for him to walk. She follows the howling of wolves in the distance where she meets his mother. She puts the pup down before trying to head home to the lights in the distance. Exhausted, she curls up in the woods where the wolves sit around her howling back to her hound dog. Her mother finds her and all ends well.
Comments: What a great story without words picture books. Young readers will be in suspense as they wonder if the two will be able to survive the blizzard.
The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen. 2017. Mixed media. Published by Candlewick Press.
Brief summary: One morning, a mouse is eaten by wolf and moans about his unexpected end as it sits in the beast’s belly. “Be quiet!” The mouse is surprised to find a duck in bed. They have breakfast together in which the rodent learns all about the duck’s life inside the belly of the wolf. The mouse asks if he can stay too where there is no worry. The duck agrees. They dance about causing the wolf’s tummy to hurt. The duck suggests he knows how to cure his ache and lists a few supplies he would like the wolf to swallow. A hunter comes along and tries to shoot the wolf. Realizing their safe home is under attack, the goose and mouse come up with a plan scaring the hunter away. In return of saving his life, the wolf grants them a favor.
Comments: Has a fable feel. My favorite line is “I may have been swallowed,” says the duck, “but I have no intention of being eaten.” It made me think of what it would be like to live inside the belly of a beast that I was always being frightened by in my every day life.
Baabwaa & Wooliam: A Tale of Literacy, Dental Hygiene, and Friendship by David Elliott; illustrated by Melissa Sweet. 2017. Watercolor, gouache, and mixed media. Published by Candlewick Press.
Brief summary: Wooliam loves to read, and Baabwaa loves to knit. The two sheep enjoy spending the days with their favorite activity until one day, Wooliam suggests that the two friends go on an adventure. They leave their trailer and have a walkabout of the field not going past the stone wall. They are just finishing their lunch of grass when a third sheep approaches with a dirty wool coat. “Run!” said Wooliam. “It’s that Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing I’ve read about.” The wolf chases but then stops, curious about what they had read about him. The sheep show him the book. After realizing the wolf cannot read, the sheep decide to teach him how to read and knit him a new coat. No good deed goes unpunished, but the three do arrive to harmony.
Comments: These two sheep decide to be kind and understanding to someone even though he has the reputation of eating them, has awful teeth, and is constantly chasing them around the field. A different viewpoint of the Big Bad Wolf.
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Little Wolf’s First Howling by Laura McGee Kvasnosky; illustrated by Kate Harvey Mcgee. 2017. “Color work in Photoshop with a digital palette and brushes.” Published by Candlewick Press.
Brief summary: Little Wolf is excited as he and his father climb up the hill. It will be his first howling when the full moon rises. His father calmly demonstrates the “proper howling form.” Little Wolf has his turn but does not quite sound like his father’s howl. Big Wolf praises but also gives some constructive criticism to his son. Little Wolf tries again adding his own special touches. His father kindly tells his son all of the things he is proud of about him but ends with that he does not have “proper howling form.” He demonstrates for his son again. Little Wolf listens and howls again knowing it was not the form but really wants to howl with his heart. His father joins now in his son’s howling form.
Comments: Big Wolf realizes that this form of howling was something that Little Wolf wanted to be creative with and make his own style. The father wolf does not yell at him or tell him he is not listening. He does not berate him. His father lets him howl in the way that is unique to his son and stops demonstrating the proper technique.
This would be a good book for the art teacher to read that would encourage students to do art with their hearts and not always with the “proper form.” It is important for children to know how to do something properly, but is also good to let them do some things their own way.
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