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BETSY WHO CRIED WOLF by Gail Carson Levine

BETSY WHO CRIED WOLF

By Gail Carson Levine (Author) , Scott Nash (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 10

Pub Date: June 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-028763-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

Levine continues her tradition of reworked fairy tales with strong heroines begun with Ella Enchanted (1999) in this delightful tale of a bright young girl who can stand up for herself and the sheep she guards. When Betsy turns eight, she proudly takes the Shepherd’s Oath, determined to be the best shepherd ever. Meanwhile, the last wolf on the mountain is hungry, lonely, and devising a plan to have sheep for his next meal. When Zimmo makes his appearance before Betsy and her flock, she blows her whistle and the farmers come running. But the crafty Zimmo has disappeared—part of his master plan. He repeats the show the next day—same deal. Sent back to Shepherd School and given one last chance, she packs her lunch and tends her flock. But there is Zimmo again, and this time he is charging right at them. Blowing her whistle fails to bring any farmers, so Betsy gets ready to hurl her lunch at the wolf, at which point he sits down and howls for food. Realizing that he is just hungry, the crafty heroine feeds him and he leaves the sheep alone. The sheep sum up one of the story’s morals quite nicely: unlike the original fairy tale, “People who cry wolf may be deceived and not deceivers.” Nash’s (The Bugliest Bug, not reviewed, etc.) personified sheep are a stitch—walking on two legs, posing for a dive into the Soakenwetz River, belaying down a cliff, and always commenting on the current state of the story. Especially funny are the endpapers, where readers can eavesdrop on the sheep’s conversations. A must-have. (Picture book. 4-10)