A wolf pup tries out his howling technique in this picture book.
Little Wolf is excited to be accompanying his father, Big Wolf, to the top of the hill for his first howling. As the full moon rises, Little Wolf is raring to try, but his father holds him back, telling him he will first “demonstrate proper howling form.” When it’s Little Wolf’s turn, he begins properly, but then creative exuberance (humorously rendered with a superabundance of A’s and O’s, increasingly punctuated by scat syllables) takes over, and no matter how many times Big Wolf patiently demonstrates proper technique, Little Wolf can’t help adding his own spin. Even Big Wolf’s gentle disapproval can’t dampen Little Wolf’s ardor. Eventually of course, Big Wolf comes around to see it from Little Wolf’s point of view, and the story ends with the two wolves, father and pup, howling with gusto in very improper howling form. Kvasnosky’s story celebrates all that is fresh and original in the creative spirit of children, and her text will be great fun as a read-aloud, especially after some practice. Kvasnosky and McGee’s collaborative illustrations are done in gouache resist with digital colorization, a striking technique that particularly emphasizes the black night and the bright moonlight. All double-page spreads, the illustrations successfully evoke the vast beauty of the country the wolves inhabit.
Visually lovely and sure to be a read-aloud hit; put on some Ella Fitzgerald, too. (Picture book. 2-6)