What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?
Debi Gliori. Walker, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8027-3432-7
In the variation on the game of tag that shares its name with this book (better known in the U.S. as “What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?”), children ask the “wolf” for the time, moving closer with each answer until “dinnertime” sends them scrambling. Gliori’s clever riff imagines recognizable fairy tale characters asking Mr. Wolf the time each hour, starting at seven a.m. The answers Gliori’s wolf provides are generally grouchy (“It’s time for bacon sandwiches,” he tells the giggling Three Little Pigs), and with good reason: he believes they have all forgotten his birthday. Although the surprise party plot is familiar, Gliori (The Scariest Thing of All) packs her version with visual and textual allusions and characters children can easily identify. When Mr. Wolf goes to his cupboard for a snack he finds that “even his dish has run off with his spoon!” (oddly, in the accompanying illustration, the former appears to have kidnapped the latter). Gliori’s charming, detailed watercolor-and-ink illustrations add to the story’s humor; her occasional use of silhouette is especially skillful and fun. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/17/2012