cover image The Boy Who Cried Wolf

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

B. G. Hennessy, , illus. by Boris Kulikov. . S&S, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-87433-8

Hennessy (Claire and the Unicorn Happy Ever After , reviewed below) and Kulikov (Morris the Artist ) retell a well-known story with humorous verve. Kulikov slyly sets the scene in a Renaissance Italian landscape. He pictures the shoeless shepherd chewing on a stem; lazy butterflies, birds and dragonflies flit about. Hennessy's conversational style meanwhile brings the 16th-century peasant into present-day focus: " 'I am so bored,' he thought. 'All day long all I do is watch sheep.....'Munch, munch, munch. Baaaaaaaaaaaaa , answered the sheep." When the dullness overwhelms him, he runs to the village, yelling, "There is a wolf after my sheep!" The townspeople arrive en masse and span several centuries, from a knight to a musketeer to 19th-century city-folk in top hats. "That was a fun afternoon," thinks the shepherd, playing leapfrog with a friend who stays behind. Needless to say, he succeeds a second time, but his third effort (in earnest) fails to draw a crowd. Kulikov depicts the wolves as a fearsome hydra, but the boy's punishment is not too severe; the book ends wordlessly, with a spread revealing that the resourceful sheep have clambered up a tree. Hennessy's economic prose repeats key phrases for emphasis, while Kulikov composes comic close-ups with steep perspectives as the intensity heightens. Their shepherd misbehaves, but he's not so bad—he just wants a little excitement. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)