First, whilst M was poorly last week we read Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf by Catherine Storr, having been inspired to do so by this review, and for the last few days we’ve been enjoying Good Little Wolf, the debut picture book by British author and illustrator Nadia Shireen, which is officially published today!
The first day I produced Good Little Wolf at story time M immediately looked puzzled; “But wolves are always bad!” Without realising it she had hit the nail on the head.
This clever little book is all about confounding expectations, discovering who you really are and being true to yourself – an amazing amount to fit into a short picture book, but done deftly and with good dose of humour too.
Rolf, a good little wolf who likes baking cakes, eats all his vegetables and is always nice to his friends, is taunted by Big Bad Wolf. Rolf surely can’t be a proper wolf; although he smells and looks like one, he’s not very good at howling at the moon or blowing houses down.
Rolf nevertheless knows he is a wolf, even if not a sterotypical, storybook cut-out version of one. In the end, without giving in to pressure to gobble a granny, he manages not only to prove his lupine credentials but also to sit down for tea and cake with Big Bad Wolf (although surprises continue to the very last page of the book).
Shireen’s illustrations are comical and dramatic. The page turn which introduces Big Bad Wolf to Rolf is exquisite, terrifying and (as the fear recedes) giggle-inducing.
Good Little Wolf has been an instant hit in this home. M, at 6, loves the references to fairy tale wolves and how everything she thought she knew about wolves is turned (almost) on its head, whilst J, at 3, loves the funny pictures and the fearful thrill both mitigated and doubled by the relief that comes from laughing out loud. And me, (at 37)? Well I love this little story about finding out for yourself (with just a little bit of supportive encouragement) who you are, what you enjoy and what you’re good at.
I wonder what it must feel like to see your first book come to life, to appear on bookshelves in libraries, bookshops and homes. I’ll certainly be asking Nadia about this, as in a few posts’ time I’ll be interviewing Nadia about her work. If you’ve any questions you’d like to put to Nadia, please leave them in the comments.
In honour of Rolf and his love of cakes and tea we decided to have a tea party with a wolf-ish theme.
Our list of essential items for a children’s tea party:
This is just a regular chocolate cake. I put a cut-out wolf head on the top and M covered the cake with icing sugar. When I removed the wolf head, M filled in the silhouette with Flake chocolate to look like wolf fur.
Making these wolf cubcakes took me way out of my comfort zone, definitely not my normal sort of baking! I used this video as inspiration.
For the paw prints we dipped some biscuits in melted chocolate and then pressed in white chocolate buttons, adapting an idea I originally found here.
And here we are celebrating the publication of Nadia’s first book, raising her a cup of tea and eating plenty of cake by way of celebration!
Whilst chatting and eating at our tea party we listened to:
Now as it happens this very evening (Thursday 2nd June) there is going to be a twitter party all about children’s tea parties. But this is no ordinary twitter party. It’s a twitter party with the potential to make a difference and save a child’s life.
To take part in the party turn up on Twitter at 8pm GMT (which I think is 3pm New York, or 12 midday San Francisco) and post tips for great children’s tea parties using the #passiton hashtag. The idea is to have fun, get some great tips, and in the process raise the profile of the No Child Born to Die campaign.
Several prizes will be up for grabs to random participants in the twitter party, including a copy of Nadia Shireen’s Good Little Wolf (not all prizes are available internationally, but the copy of Good Little Wolf is).
If you can’t make the party, please do read about the campaign and consider signing this petition.
Disclosure: Good Little Wolf was provided to me gratis by the publisher. This review, however, reflects my own and honest opinion.