Books by Patricia Rae Wolff

A NEW IMPROVED SANTA by Patricia Rae Wolff
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

Precipitated by a certain snugness in his special seasonal suit, Santa suffers a serious, year-long identity crisis in this comical offering from Wolff (Cackle Cook's Monster Stew, 2001, etc.). He goes on a diet, lifts weights, cuts and dyes his hair and beard, tries out new clothing styles, and gets a boom box and a computer. Santa experiments with different transportation methods and finally replaces his sleigh and reindeer with a "roaring red rocket-copter." The children who talk to him about their gifts in December, however, don't like the new Santa, because he looks like an unfamiliar stranger, of course, and his transformed looks even make one little girl cry. Presto, change-o, with Mrs. Claus's help, Santa returns to his roots (white hair and all) and decides it's OK to be old-fashioned. Patient Mrs. Claus declares that Santa really is new and improved, because now he's smarter, having learned something important about himself. Cravath (The Princesses Have a Ball, p. 1215, etc.) provides some ingenious interpretations of Santa's new wardrobe and hairstyles, as well as his attempts to use all the latest contraptions of foolish mortals. The entire work pokes gentle fun at those adults who seek to reinvent themselves, with yet another interpretation of the ever-reliable "to thine own self be true" theme. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

Wolff manages to be gross without getting nauseating in this witch's brew of ABC's. Cackle Cook is throwing together her famous stew when she discovers she is missing some key ingredients, the very stuff to make it supremely repugnant. She'll need that ancient ape's <\b>short armpit hair and that half-inch square of big brown bear<\b>. She sends her ghoulish pal Igor to the store—he hates shopping—time and again to get all the goods: "One hobgoblin's <\b>knobby nose / nine or ten iguana <\b>toes / Three large jars of jellyfish <\b>jelly / A piece of pocket from a kangaroo <\b>belly." Schindler does a fine job with the ingredients, with just the right bilious colors, and his population of witches and ogres are comfortably spooky. When Igor returns with the last of the fixings—"The hairy hump from the neck of a yak <\b>/ A dusty clump from a zombie's <\b>back" (his own)—he dances a little jig, Cackle Cook judges the stew a success ("YYUUCCKK!!" she shouted. "It's just right!"), and the doors to her world-famous restaurant are thrown open to a long line of waiting monsters. Igor first, though; he may hate shopping, but he does like eating. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >