A young wolf goes hunting for the first time and learns his prey can be crafty—not to mention a bunch of liars.
Leroy’s wolf in this French import has a wolfish streak, but he is also a gentleman. His first quarry is a rabbit, caught in a butterfly net. Well-mannered to a fault, the wolf asks the rabbit for its last wish: to be read a story. The wolf rushes home to get one after the rabbit promises not to move a muscle. The three vignettes that depict his rushing home, choosing a book, and rushing back are hysterical. Arriving back at the scene, the wolf finds the rabbit has vanished. “Wait...he’s gone? Oh, that liar!” His next prey, a chicken, pulls a similar bamboozlement, but the little boy he nabs soon thereafter is true to his promise not to move. So not only does the wolf grant him his last wish, a drawing, but he agrees to let the boy show it to his friends (yes, rabbit and chicken). When the wolf sees them in their woodland clubhouse, he walks away after a page turn. Readers are left to their own devices in solving the riddle, but the absence of the rabbit and the chicken in the frame may be a clue. Maudet’s artwork—vignettes, full-page illustrations, two-page spreads—are colored in earth tones that make for clean, rural tableaux.
So where do good manners get you? Hunger here and salvation there. Life is a mystery. (Picture book. 3-7)