Baguley and Blanz deal with complex themes of difference, inclusion, and acceptance in a simple way.
Near a wood live “a mother and her brown-eyed child” (who, incidentally, is brown-skinned, although the text doesn’t mention that), and in the wood live a wolf mother and her wolf cub. The human mother warns her child of wolves, and the wolf mother warns her cub of “men,” but neither youngster listens. The wolf-cub and man-child come across each other while chasing rabbits. At first, they are wary—for each remembers his mother’s warning—but they soon become friends. The picture book ends with the mothers telling each other that they need to trust each other for the sakes of their children, because the latter “are just like brothers.” Baguley and Blanz’s picture book highlights the importance of accepting difference even as it romanticizes childish innocence. Hyphenated and rhythmic words—such as “tree-thick and thorn-twisty” and “rough-fur and claw-paw”—make this book enjoyable as a read-aloud. Blanz’s illustrations are composed of rounded, soft images in dark hues of purple, green, blue, and brown, which make the book soothing and earthy.
A sweet interspecies idyll. (Picture book. 4-8)