THE WOLF by Margaret Barbalet


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 & up
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 An allegory concerning fear, with an almost painfully dark, heavy atmosphere: When a wolf begins to prowl outside each night, testing doors and windows, the lives of a mother and her children become cheerless and circumscribed. Tanner's brooding paintings offer a variety of visual cues--shadowed backgrounds, a child's tearful face, an eerily distorted stairway, a few fallen leaves below a page of text--while the wolf itself is never seen, making it all the more terrifying. At first, the family seems powerless; but as months go by, it's the wolf that grows weaker until at last one child summons the courage to open the door and sees only a thin, unmenacing creature. Obviously, the wolf is a symbol--but for what? Fear itself? Fear of something? Political or social oppression? Readers can make up their own minds; meanwhile, the author's suggestion that time will tame the wolf is debatable, but heartening. (Picture book. 7+)

Pub Date: March 31st, 1992
ISBN: 0-02-711840-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1992