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THE BIG BAD RUMOR by Jonathan Meres

THE BIG BAD RUMOR

By Jonathan Meres (Author) , Jacqueline East (Illustrator)

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-531-30292-X
Publisher: Orchard

A dash of Chicken Little combined with a pinch of that classic childhood game Telephone is a recipe for success in this boisterous tale of miscommunication. When the goggle-eyed goose rushes to tell the barnyard animals that a wolf is coming, the story gets twisted, warped, and generally misconstrued until the panicked creatures are in a frenzy of confusion. Meres’s crafty wordplay is hilarious. “ ‘What’s that? There’s a whopping bad wolf and he’s wearing a wig?’ cried the jittery jay, tail flicking. ‘What’s that? He’s shopping mad and he’s scaring a pig?’ cried the harried hedgehog, prickles prickling.” Like the sly wolf in Jan Fearnley’s Mr. Wolf’s Pancakes (not reviewed), this villainous wolf has a trick up his sleeve. As the barnyard frenzy reaches a fevered pitch, a very young, innocuous-looking wolf appears at the door . . . with his big, bad dad. This surprise ending is good for a shriek and a laugh. Some of East’s illustrations, while very funny, definitely appeal more to an adult sense of humor. After all, not many three-year-olds can savor the irony of a leather-bedecked wolf atop a motorcycle or that same wolf in a poofy pink wig wielding a hair dryer in a beauty parlor. Despite the fact that the subtler humor may elude them, preschoolers will pick up on the inherent silliness of the comical pictures and enjoy the escalating outrageousness of the tale. An exuberant read-aloud that’s sure to generate gales of giggles. (Picture book. 3-6)