cover image Badness for Beginners

Badness for Beginners

Ian Whybrow, Tony Ross, , illus. by Tony Ross. . Lerner/Carolrhoda, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-57505-861-0

In this boisterous caper, the creators of the Little Wolf novels introduce that character and his little brother to a younger audience (as the subtitle indicates, "A Little Wolf and Smellybreff Adventure"). The tale has a peppy premise: trying to encourage their offspring to grow up "big and bad like them," Mom and Dad Wolf teach Little Wolf and Smellybreff naughty nursery rhymes and command the cubs to be on their worst behavior. Though Smellybreff is a quick learner, sometimes his brother "was good by mistake." Sibling rivalry comes to the fore on a family badness-training outing. At a café, Little Wolf's attempts to misbehave only draw compliments from the waitress, but Smellybreff triumphs. He lets out a loud burp, causes a table to overturn and, after eating four banana splits and a hot fudge sundae, vomits profusely all over the floor, a scene that even slapstick-loving kids may find overly gross. Chased out of the café, the retreat features a twist on Little Wolf's tepidly bad deeds, causing the bad-behavior lessons to backfire quite comically. Ross (the Amber Brown series) fills his energetic art with entertaining particulars, many of which highlight Smellybreff's knack for naughtiness. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)