Wolf—the star of several picture books originally published in France—has many forest friends, but his inability to regulate his emotions interferes with his relationships.
Wolf’s friends decide to instruct him in various self-management techniques, hoping he’ll learn self-control. His first lesson is yoga, which he finds to be quite funny. Next he tries both exercise and baking. When his female love interest (the unfortunately named Wolfette) makes a good-natured joke at his expense, he explodes in anger and calls his friends hurtful names. Later, when building a house, Wolf makes a mistake and is on the verge of a meltdown. He remembers his initial yoga class and uses the techniques he learned to calm down. After this one instance of successful self-management, Wolf’s friends celebrate and praise his transformation. The emotions Wolf experiences on his journey, such as fear, pride, jealousy, and shame, are noted in boldface text. The emphasis on naming feelings and the acknowledgement that different self-management techniques can be effective for different personalities are highlights. Unfortunately, the overall story is clunky. While this title would serve as a good tool for an explicit social-emotional–learning lesson, as a general read, the overall effect is lackluster at best.
The heavy-handed lesson and underdeveloped characters hinder this picture book’s attempt to convey a positive message. (Picture book. 4-8)