cover image Strudwick


Robert Kraus. Viking Children's Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-85887-3

The wolf in sheep's clothing appeared in Kraus's Fables Aesop Never Wrote; in this topsy-turvy tale, he meets his alter ego, a sheep in wolf's clothing. Strudwick the lamb, concerned that his true identity makes him easy prey, rents a wolf costume and parades past his barnyard friends. Unfortunately, he's not fooling anyone (``Don't try to pull the wool over our eyes!'' some other lambs tell him), so he decides to try his disguise on his near-sighted Grandpa. Shades of Little Red Riding Hood--Strudwick encounters the wolf on the way to Grandpa's house. The enemy is indeed dressed in white wool and has a craving for ``aged mutton,'' but Grandpa manages to frighten away the wolf with a lion outfit of his own. Kraus turns out busy mixed-media compositions of cut paper, cloth, photos, glitter, Elvis stamps and more, but the results are hit-or-miss. Some pictures are uproarious, others seem hastily thrown together. With so many disguises to figure out, however, the figurative meaning of ``a wolf in sheep's clothing,'' or vice versa, is lost amid the jest. Ages 5-up. (Apr.)