In this sophomore graphic import, readers wonder why an underpants-bedecked wolf is complaining about the snow.
In the bucolic woods, the forest denizens welcome winter with its blanket of clean, fresh snow. They take all the proper precautions: winterizing their homes, bundling up in toasty coats and hats, and warming themselves over a piping-hot cauldron of cheese fondue. But amid all this wintry revelry, the wolf is behaving strangely, stomping through their festivities and continually proclaiming “They’re freezing!” Desperate to keep the large carnivore happy, the other critters try making him warm socks and a cozy hat to ward off the chill. When their efforts seem fruitless, fear drives them to gather and storm his house only to find something truly unexpected behind his door. Once again, Lupano has crafted another intelligent and approachable graphic fable; whereas he examined stereotypes and perception in The Wolf in Underpants (2019), he now explores socio-economic inequality, gently urging young readers to “try a little harder to be kind to others.” Itoïz and Cauuet’s busy illustrations pack in a lovely array of interesting and bustling characters reminiscent of Richard Scarry’s and mix full-page spreads against borderless panels, all employing a cool palette of blues and lavenders. Lupano’s message of kindness and perception shines without being cloying, making this quiet charmer a must-read.
A timely and accessible lesson delivered without any howling pedantry. (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)