Is a frosty fanny the cause of the forest creatures’ fear?
The woodland denizens fear the wolf and its “crazy eyes” and “fangs like ice picks.” Their marketplace bristles with stalls hawking anti-wolf alarms, wolf-defense karate, and wolf traps, and lectures about the wolf are always well-attended. However, when the critters, led by the heavily armed “anti-wolf brigade,” actually meet the wolf, they are surprised by his mild manner and prominent red-and-white–striped undies. Soon they learn that a chilly keister had made the wolf uncomfortable, causing its eerie howls and terrifying demeanor. The animals now face an existential crisis; who will buy wolf traps and attend lectures now? The wolf sensibly tells them, “maybe you need more in your lives than just fear.” With numerous mentions of butts and underpants, expect the requisite giggles. Those assuming this is another tale of self-acceptance will be pleasantly surprised by the turn to the dangers of fear and prejudice. (Those hoping for some address of the language demeaning mental illness will be disappointed.) Older readers with a keen eye should be able to spot a darkly comic twist at its conclusion. Large, earth-toned illustrations range in size from lush two-page spreads to smaller, compact, borderless panels, creating an engaging hybrid between a picture book and graphic novel that would work well read independently or aloud.
Young readers will howl for this tale that combines a timely, smart message alongside crowd-pleasing silliness. (Graphic/picture-book hybrid. 5-9)