cover image BAD BOYS


Margie Palatini, , illus. by Henry Cole. . HarperCollins/Tegen, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-000102-5

Two raffish wolves named Willy and Wally ("Oh yeah, we're bad. We're bad. We're really, really bad" is their mantra) have just been run out of town by the Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. Spotting a herd of ewes—all dressed in matronly ensembles—the pair decides to combine hiding out with chowing down by dressing in drag and joining the flock as Willimina and Wallanda, Bo Peep's long-lost sheep. Palatini's (previously paired with Cole for Moosetache and Mooseltoe ) flair for puns and arch repartee shines through every exchange. The ever-waggish Cole, meanwhile, advances the plot with his own steady stream of visual humor, endowing the wolves in sheep's clothing with hilariously faux-innocent expressions and giving the sheep the body language of garden-party-goers. Of course the wolves' caper doesn't go according to plan. "I knew the Peep Sheep," says a steely, "tough old" Betty Mutton (one of her friends is named Meryl Sheep). "I grazed with the Peep Sheep. I counted with the Peep Sheep. And you two don't leap like the Peep Sheep. There's something very peculiar about you two ewes." The wolves escape, after a (literal) close shave, closing this sublimely silly story on an appropriately gleeful note. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)