A two-toothed toddler needs no wolf suit to be wildest thing of all in this high-volume prequel to a certain well-known classic.
Salerno crowds broad, bright, cartoon jungle scenes with huge animals who growl, roar, stomp their feet, and gnash their teeth with thrilling ferocity—until put to panicked flight by the arrival of a new resident. Yes, it’s a wild child: “Constantly grabbing, pinching, and pooping! Forever pulling, kicking, and crying! Always biting, hitting, and howling!” Can it be tamed? Not by feeding it tasty leaves or ants, not by placing it in a cozy treetop or a mud wallow, and certainly not by simply roaring at it. Then Gorilla tries a different approach, and after a banana, a wash, and a quiet cuddle, the young terror is transformed into a “mild child.” (For a while, anyway.) Drawn diaperless but, thanks to discreet angles and the occasional well-placed leaf, indeterminate of gender, the tiny Tarzan (or maybe Sheena) is last seen snoozing peacefully in a bush following a post-nap wild rumpus with a host of now-smiling beasts.
A salutary lesson in jungle parenting. (Picture book. 3-6)