cover image Big Wolf and Little Wolf

Big Wolf and Little Wolf

Sharon Phillips Denslow. Greenwillow Books, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-16174-3

Denslow's (Night Owls) playful picture book will buoy readers' spirits. Little Wolf and his father sing silly bedtime songs to each other until they suddenly hear noises in the bushes behind them. The suspense builds as Little Wolf sees first the ears, and then the eyes and nose of--his mother. When Mama Wolf sings her teasing song (""I'm a wolf./ I'm a wolf./ I'm a Big Mama Wolf!/ .../ I hide in the woods just having fun!""), Big Wolf and Little Wolf chase her home to their den. Felstead's (A Circle of Days) watercolors are both expressive and captivating; her chipper paintings evoke Little Wolf's vulnerability, Big Wolf's protectiveness and a ""happy tumble"" of wolves as they go to sleep. By depicting an affectionate, happy family, the book is not only effective as a bedtime story, but also as a humorous antidote to stories about scary creatures. The songs here are full of fun, whether Big Wolf declaims about using his nose to smell his feet or describes howling at the moon in an old nightshirt. At book's end, children may want to be like the wolves and sing just ""one more song/ AARROOOO!"" Ages 3-up. (Apr.)