Wolves are big and, typically, bad, writes Moore. “They just can’t help themselves.” Then there are the atypical wolves.
Protagonist Wolf is trying hard—and failing—to fight the genetic impulse. He wants to be good. That might be pushing it. He wants to have a friend. It’s lonely out there in the woods. But his attempts at winning friends fall flat. Smiling gets him nowhere. He throws a surprise party and, boy, are the guests surprised. He sits on a log, tears welling in his eyes. “What’s the matter?” asks a little girl who smells “of honey and cinnamon.” She has brown skin and straight brown hair, a turquoise coat, yellow boots, head tilted just so—delicious. But the little girl reaches into “her bag of wonders” and gets “to work on Wolf.” Wolf finds that the little girl is fun: she gives him a pedicure, she gives his matted hair a makeover. But she is not about to be Wolf’s carpet. When Wolf reverts to bullying and selfishness, the girl takes a walk. Wolf is alone again, but now he has a dawning of self-awareness. He feels guilt. He finds the little girl in another part of the woods, sheepishly apologizes, and their friendship is rekindled. Moore has caught the strange and rocky road to making friends; her mixed-media artwork dances between fierce and funny, maintaining a deft balance.
Friends are better as friends than food. (Picture book. 4-8)