cover image A Well-Mannered Young Wolf

A Well-Mannered Young Wolf

Jean Leroy, illus. by Matthieu Maudet. Eerdmans, $16 (30p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5479-7

Originally published in France, this wicked gem of a story from Leroy (Superfab Saves the Day) and Maudet (A Mammoth in the Fridge) proves that manners matter, even when one isn’t doing something terribly polite, such as hunting prey. The well-mannered wolf of the title strikes out with a butterfly net in hand, dressed in a buttoned-up polo shirt and shorts that don’t exactly scream big or bad. After capturing a rabbit, he asks, “What is your last wish before I eat you?” Freedom is out of the question, but a story isn’t, and the wolf runs home to grab a book. “I won’t move a muscle, I promise!” says the rabbit, who promptly moves several muscles to get out of there. The process repeats when the irritated wolf catches a chicken, but the tables turn after the wolf snags a human boy who sticks around as promised. Maudet’s airy, lighthearted cartooning bolsters the comic timing of Leroy’s fablelike tale, though well-used flashes of red offer reminders of the deadly stakes. And as in many fables, it’s the dishonest who suffer—not the hungry. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)