Friday, October 22, 2010

Wolf Pie

Wolf Pie
written by Brenda Seabrooke; illustrated by Liz Callen
(Clarion Books) 2010
Source: Person County Library

The Pygg brothers are building a new house. James, the most sensible Pygg, explains to his brothers Marvin and Lester that a brick house is necessary for safety in the winter "when food is scarce and wolves come looking for pigs to eat." Sure enough, a wolf comes calling and does the "huff and I'll puff" thing which scares Marvin and Lester but doesn't faze James one bit. After his unsuccessful attempt to bring down the house, the wolf pronounces that if he is unable to come into the house, he will stay outside and not let the pigs out. This wolf is determined and hangs around as autumns breezes in. He isn't able to get in the house, but he can ruin games of hide-and-seek and riddle-me-this. When James reads a story out loud, the wolf, from outside, asks thoughtful questions and when the Pyggs gather around the piano, Wilfong the Wolf almost sings on key. This starts the brothers and Wilfong on a path towards friendship.

I figured there were no more original twists left on the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf genre, but I am happily wrong. Wolf Pie is a wonderful early reader that is clever, funny, sweet, and thought provoking. Both the Pyggs and Wilfong Wolf have to overcome their past in order to embrace this new friendship. I like the fact that it doesn't happen automatically which is a good lesson for young readers. It takes time for the Pyggs and Wilfong to become close friends. As teachers, we often referee friendship disputes and encourage children to give relationships some time to work themselves out. Wolf Pie is a terrific early reader that could provide needed discussion points in a classroom.

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