The Wolf

Margaret Barbalet, Author, Jane Tanner, Illustrator MacMillan Publishing Company $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-02-711840-7
Barbalet's first children's book is a contemporary gothic parable about confronting fear. Her brisk text describes the mounting terror of three children and their mother whose tranquil life is shattered when a wolf begins to howl outside their house. As it draws closer, the family members become virtual prisoners in their home, barricading themselves inside in an attempt to stave off the ever-present menace. ``You can't make it go away,'' the mother tells Tal, her oldest child; gradually the boy marshals the courage to unbar the door and admit the wolf. Barbalet doesn't soft-pedal any aspects of the family's increasing enslavement to fear: at one point Tal wonders whether he should sacrifice his cat--or even himself--to appease the creature. While older readers may grasp the deeper lesson about mastering one's own terrors, some children may find the tale confusing and even alarming. Tanner's ( Drac and the Gremlin ) realistic illustrations, with graphic shifts in perspective, are appropriately dark and moonlit--many are gripping portraits in which the characters' plight is all too real. Though this unusual book may not be for all tastes, its stark drama makes a vivid impression. Ages 6-9. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/02/1992
Release date: 03/01/1992
Hardcover - 978-0-517-13338-5
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