HENRI AND THE LOUP-GAROU by Joyce Audy Dos Santos


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A loup-garou, as French Canadians know, is a werewolf, and the Henri of this tale is the father of a family. Here he sets off through the woods for the family groceries, with instructions to bring home an apple for son Joseph, a doll for Jeannette, and a story for little Aimee. It's a stormy night, and ""a flash of lightning crackled down, smack! into a hole at Henri's feet. 'I will trap it,' thought Henri, 'with this stone!' [You see him rolling a small boulder onto the hole the lightning entered.] 'Now I can tell my little Aimee a story about her clever Papa.'"" So Henri goes on to the store, and when he finds a Loup-Garou following him home, he rolls back the stone and sends the werewolf running off, fleeing a ball of bright light. ""A story is hard work,"" concludes Henri--who is then seen at home regaling a skeptical-looking wife, three attentive older children, and a rapt Aimee with his adventure. That last scene is an example of Dos Santos' understated drollery, and this picture book has many small virtues. However, it might have too many unassimilated elements--the leg-pulling, non-realistic, folk-like core; the half-hearted attempt at conventional suspense; and the framework of a story for Aimee--to make one firm, whole impression. As it is, we too are reminded that a story is work at a purely mechanical level.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1982
Publisher: Pantheon