cover image Big, Scary Wolf

Big, Scary Wolf

Harvey Stevenson. Clarion Books, $14 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-74213-6

Soothing the fears of children tormented by active nocturnal imaginations, Stevenson (Grandpa's House) defuses the possible threat of a wolf lurking in a shadowy bedroom corner. A girl's father convinces her that a wolf wouldn't want to be inside at all: he'd rather be ""playing outside with his friends, under the stars."" Together, they imagine the wolf harassed by domestic routines and cast into the role of a child: having to eat his vegetables, to put on his pajamas if he wants a story and to submit to being bathed and brushed. As the art presents each scenario, the child merrily plays the role of the adult, holding out a forkful of green beans and stuffing the hapless wolf into his pajamas. The acrylic illustrations help domesticate the big, scary wolf with inventive humor. Vibrant shades of teal, purple and blue dominate the night scenes, and this palette, along with a slightly mottled style, reinforces the illustrations' playfulness. Resembling a mildly tortured house pet, the wolf assumes a variety of comical expressions: in one, he looks alarmed to have his long fur clipped into sections with multicolored barrettes. Who could be afraid? Ages 3-6. (Aug.)