A contrarian wolf insists on starting his story from back to front.
Once readers turn the book over and open the “back” cover, they see the title page. Little Wolf stands with his arms folded, proclaiming “The Story Starts Here”—“Because I said so,” tipping readers off as to the tone of the book. Little Wolf’s parents (readers only see their legs) tell him that books don’t start from “this end,” but Little Wolf insists they do today and continues in this vein (starting his meal with dessert, playing piano with his toes) until he is sent to his room. Little Wolf then escapes into the forest outside through his (strangely paneless) window to see all manner of forest creatures in full sprint. They are fleeing an indescribable creature who turns out to be Little Wolf’s father walking on his hands, though readers have to flip the book to make this discovery. After the flip, Little Wolf’s father shrinks from his extra-large size back to normal, for no discernible reason, and the pair leaves together, though it’s made clear that Little Wolf is as rebellious as ever. Starting a book from what is usually the back cover is a great idea, but unfortunately, Little Wolf’s subsequent acts of rebellion are too pedestrian to sustain the concept’s promise, and the narrative follow-through is so arbitrary that it’s more likely to unmoor readers than to charm them.
Nifty concept; imperfect execution. (Picture book. 3-5)