cover image When a Wolf Is Hungry

When a Wolf Is Hungry

Christine Naumann-Villemin, illus. by Kris Di Giacomo. Eerdmans, $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5482-7

In terms of weaponry, Naumann-Villemin’s edgy picture book gives the board game Clue a run for its money. Hungry for a “grain-fed, silky-rabbit,” a wolf named Edmond Bigsnout bicycles into town to find one. After letting himself into an apartment building that’s home to one “Max Omatose, miniature rabbit,” Edmond makes the rookie mistake of leaving his knife in the elevator. Another resident swipes it (“That’s just what I need to cut this cake!”), so Edmond returns home to retrieve a chainsaw, since “sliced rabbit is delicious, too!” But another neighbor asks to borrow the chainsaw, and so it goes with the rope, cooking pot, and charcoal grill Edmond brings to the building after subsequent back-and-forth trips. French writer Naumann-Villemin’s story seesaws between neighborliness and menace, and Di Giacomo (Have You Seen My Trumpet?) is along for the ride, giving Edmond sharp fangs—and a dapper tuxedo—while alternating between shadowy, thriller-worthy moments and Edmond’s humorous interactions with the building’s residents. Eventually, gentility, vegetarianism, and the prospect of romance win out, delivering a happy ending for wolf and rabbit alike. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)