From School Library Journal
Grade 2–4—With its appealing illustrations and clever premise, this book puts a different twist on the notion of job hunting. When a classified ad appears in the newspaper for "a good-looking adult" wolf, Manny Wolf—a human—applies for the position. Many applicants respond to the ad, and Manny is hired to read through their letters and to reply. Thus begins his correspondence with famous and infamous wolves from folktales, myths, and fairy tales such as "Little Red Riding Hood," "The Three Little Pigs," "Peter and the Wolf," and even the female that raised Romulus and Remus. The illustrator depicts letters from those characters and Manny's written responses; the narrator then explains in which stories the wolves appear. It turns out that the original newspaper ad wasn't explicit enough. What was needed was "an animal who can't read and doesn't appear in a book," so that a documentary about endangered species can be compiled. The story ends with a spread of information on "Wolves and Their Relatives" and a map of the world showing the animals' range. The accomplished illustrations are entertaining and full of energy and differing perspectives. Older children familiar with the tales and able to handle the lengthy text will enjoy the book, and teachers might find it useful for creative-writing classes.—Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
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Manny Wolf, a man who looks a bit wolflike, takes a job screening employment applications from wolves for a company seeking to hire them. He sends replies to letters that say things like: “I CAN HUFF, I CAN PUFF, AND I CAN BLOW ANY HOUSE DOWN.” Children who know their folktales will understand why this applicant was turned down. References are also made to wolves in “Little Red Riding Hood,” “The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids,” the fables of both Aesop and LaFontaine, Peter and the Wolf, etc. The story's understated wit is magnified to high comedy in Cardon's dramatic, mixed-media illustrations. The final pages provide information and photos related to 10 actual “Wolves and Their Relatives” around the world. Machado, a Brazilian writer of more than 100 books, received the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2000. This picture book is a welcome addition to the short list of her titles available in English in the U.S. Preschool-Grade 3. --Carolyn Phelan