Monday, November 7, 2011


Written by Nadine Brun-Cosme

Illustrated by Olivier Tallec

(Enchanted Lion Books, 2011)

This book would make a wonderful companion piece to A Visitor for Bear, my previous post. Like Bear, Big Wolf is accustomed to a life of solitude. He lives on his own under a tree on a hilltop. Then one day he spots a dot in the distance. The dot moves closer and gets bigger. Big Wolf worries. Will the dot, which now resembles another wolf, continue all the way to Big Wolf’s spot? And will the imposter turn out to be Bigger Wolf? The answers: yes and no. Apparently because New Wolf is, in fact, Little Wolf, Big Wolf allows the foreigner to hover under the tree on the hilltop.

“They didn’t say a word to one another, but they watched each other out of the corners of their eyes. Their looks were curious—not mean or suspicious at all.”

Little Wolf does not leave. Nightfall comes and the two settle in for a chilly slumber under the tree. Big Wolf, while peeved, shares “a teeny tiny corner of his leaf blanket”, reasoning, “‘That is certainly enough for such a little wolf.’”

Little Wolf is still there come morning. Little Wolf follows Big Wolf through the established routine. But then Big Wolf goes off on his own for a walk. Upon his return, he is surprised that Little Wolf is finally gone and even more surprised about how he feels.

This is a touching book, sure to make an adult reader choke up a tad upon getting to the final page. Children will enjoy the story, but won’t be quite as emotional. I suspect sentimentality comes with more experiences...or at least that is how I explain that a predictable yet satisfying ending leaves me with a lump in my throat.
Olivier Tallec’s illustrations have an abstract quality to them. The wolves are drawn simplistically, Big Wolf’s figure often roughly sketched in with white space remaining. My favorite consecutive illustrations depict the wolves under the tree at night and then in the same tree in the morning—different vantage points, while also going from wide angle to a closer shot. As well, the later close-up image of Big Wolf searching for the absent Little Wolf masterfully conveys a strong sense of emotion.

The text and illustrations within Big Wolf & Little Wolf combine to create a memorable story.

No comments:

Post a Comment