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WOLF PIE

Author: Brenda Seabrooke

Illustrator: Liz Callen

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Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Remember the 3 little pigs? This is the modern version of the story. The wolf starts out being the big bad wolf, but learns to be friends with the pigs, turns vegetarian, goes on vacation with them, and then actually saves them from a hungry pack of migrant wolves. The wolf learns how to change his evil ways and the pigs learn, over time, to trust the wolf. It is a chapter book for young readers that has some full-color illustrations.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, learning to read, read aloud book, illustrated chapter, developing reader

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 7; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Reading Level: 2.6

Age of Child: Read with two brothers, ages 4 and 6.

Young Reader Reaction: My 2 boys LOVED LOVED LOVED this book. It was fun, interesting, and exciting. They wanted to read it over and over and over and over...I was impressed at how positively they reacted to the story. The chapters are long enough that I was wondered whether my 4-year-old would be able to stay focused for a whole chapter. Needless to say with the multitude of requests, he did pretty well!

Adult Reader Reaction: I loved the way the author modernized the story, and I am grateful that she did this wonderful service! It used familiar characters, but very little of the actual story -- only used the brick house (not the straw or the wood) and took the story forward from there. Consequently, the story is less about "work hard and take the time to build it right the first time." It is more about learning to give people a chance to redeem themselves, listening to others and learning about who they are (and not eating them). The wolf realized he would get more value out of the pigs as friends for life than as dinner for one evening. The story is pretty hilarious, too! Mostly, I loved that my boys asked for it again and again and again.

Pros: This early chapter book for new readers presents a wonderful take on the relationships of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf form the original story. The pictures are a lot of fun.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. You'll read it over and over, and it is a nice complement to the classic fairy tale. I'd love for the author to try this same technique with another classic fairy tale!

If You Liked This Book, Try: INTERRUPTING CHICKEN   THE 3 LITTLE DASSIES   RABBIT COOKS UP A CUNNING PLAN

Educational Themes: Because you're picking up where the other story "left off," you can build on different themes. Friendship, respect, and trust stand out, as does acceptance. It has a round-about / soft-peddled approach to LEARNING about bullies rather than just talking about them. This is a story that rewrites a classic with modern values.

Notes: This publisher sent a copy of this book as part of the 2010 Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Award (Cybils) process. This review is not intended to represent the opinions of the Cybils. The book will be donated to a reader in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - animal characters, easy reader, fairy tale, humor

Date(s) Reviewed: September 2011

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