Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Monday, January 11, 2010

There's a Wolf at the Door

There's a Wolf at the Door: Five Classic Tales retold by Zoe B. Alley with pictures by R. W. Alley

An oversized book with comic book layout, There's a Wolf at the Door retells five classic nursery tales (The Three Little Pigs, The Boy who Cried Wolf, Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing and The Wolf and the Seven Little Goslings) with the Wolf going from one tale to the next in search of his next meal. Each story has a slightly different twist to put on the characters we thought we knew so well. For instance Little Red Riding hood is actually an extremely fashionable youngster who cannot resist red. While Barry (a.k.a. The Boy Who Cried Wolf) was trying to choose between a career in the circus and shepherding.

Overall I like this book. It has a fun and new way to look at some of these stories. I did find the format a bit hard to follow at times. Some of the panels are laid out in a funky way that makes it difficult to know where to begin reading and where to go next. I do think that this book is a good introduction to the world of graphic novels and getting used to reading a story in a different way. I also liked how the wolf got from one story to the next, getting in more and more trouble as the book went on. The stories do not stay true to many of their more gruesome original endings and I do not believe that any animal or person is hurt in any of the new tales. I do not know how I feel about that yet. I remember being horrified as a child when I read the original versions of some fairy tales and nursery rhymes but I was also a little bit fascinated by them. I could not imagine a world where I was actually encouraged to read these violent stories and felt like I was getting away with something by reading them. Thereby making me want to read all the more. However the stories in this book are not cleaned up just for the sake of squeamish parents, the new endings do serve the greater story arc. The illustrations have an enormous amount of detail in them, so please take the time when reading to look for all the little pieces of the story that are told by the artist. Overall I would recommend for ages 4-10.

No comments:

Post a Comment