cover image Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf

Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf

Judy Sierra, , illus. by J. Otto Seibold. . Knopf, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-83532-2

Sierra (Wild About Books ) and Seibold (Olive, the Other Reindeer ) install story-book characters in a retirement community for this peaceable spoof. As envisioned in Seibold’s witty digital style, B.B. Wolf occupies a condo at the Villain Villa Senior Center and sports shaggy brown fur, a graying snout, pince-nez glasses and a cane. His green stovepipe hat looks a bit worse for wear, but he updates his look with a blue tracksuit. While grouching about past-due notices that recall previous exploits (including a bill for “damage to the homes of Pig #1 and Pig #2”), B.B. opens an invitation to a storybook tea at the public library. He consults a crocodile on whether he should attend. “You don’t go to a tea for the tea,” his friend replies, “You go to a tea for the cookies.” The crocodile gives him pointers on etiquette (“Sip your tea and never slurp,/ Say 'excuse me’ if you burp”), dusts off his orange plaid sport coat and sends him off to the reading room. When B.B. enters, literary mainstays like Red Riding Hood, Bo Peep and the Gingerbread Boy look aghast. Everyone acts excruciatingly polite, but their anxiety is alleviated after too much tea makes B.B. unleash an enormous burp: “You almost blew down the library,” snort the Three Little Pigs. Later, leaving with a stack of storybooks, the elderly wolf promises the librarian, “I’ll drop by one day and tell you how these stories really happened.” Sierra and Seibold expertly tweak the tension and the levity in this story of a trickster’s golden years. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)