Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed Tundra Books‘ Topsy-Turvy Town. This week we review Groundwood Books‘ Wolf Wanted (age 4-7) written by Ana Maria Machado and illustrated by Larent Cardon. I have to thank Trish at Groundwood Books for my review copy.
While looking for a job Manny happens upon a posting in the paper: Wolf Wanted. As he’s a Wolf, Manny Wolf, he applies for the job only to find out they’re looking for a real wolf, the four-legged dog type. But when so many wolves apply to the Wolf Wanted ad, the company hires Manny to review and reply to all the candidates letters. That’s where the real story begins. Each letter is written with clues to which wolf character is apply for the job, from the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood to The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing from Aesop’s Fables.
Reading Wolf Wanted, my kids, and I included, loved trying to figure out who the wolf was before Manny revealed it in his letter of reply on the next page. Some were easy, some were hard, but all were fun. You forget how many stories contain wolves as characters. To add to the fun, the illustrations were done with each letter appearing like a letter on the page. we felt like we were reading the correspondance Manny was receiving (and sending) instead of just reading a story about Manny and his letters. The only thing my daughter thought would make this better is if the letters were actual letters, ones you pull out of envelops and hold in your hand to read (yes, we’re fans of the Griffin and Sabine trilogy).
Near the end of the book, after Manny answers a number of letters (and still has stacks left to go through) he realizes the original wanted advertisement wasn’t clear enough so he rewrites it. It turns out the company Manny works for is looking for real wolves to be included in a film documentary. The company wants to capture wolves in their natural habitat, living their lives and letting others know, especially because wolves are on the endangered species list. This is the clever twist to Wolf Wanted that really intrigued me. From taking a ficticious story about classic character wolves and changing the stories focus on real wolves in the wild, you’re now draw into understanding and discovering more about the variety of wolves in the world. Wolf Wanted also includes a great map showing where key wolf populations are located around the world and giving a brief description.
I enjoyed Wolf Wanted when I first started reading the letters but the natural transition from a fiction story into a non-fiction piece at the end really won me over and my two older kids.
You can add a copy of Wolf Wanted to your personal library by visiting your independant bookstore or visiting Groundwood Books online. Looking for other great books to read your kids? Take a read through our past Write a Review Wednesday posts.