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When a Wolf Is Hungry Hardcover – August 7, 2017
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About the Author
Kris Di Giacomo is an American who has lived in Paris since childhood. She has illustrated over twenty-five picture books, including Take Away the A (Enchanted Lion), which was named an ALA Notable Book in 2015. Visit her website at www.krisdigiacomo.com.
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By: Christine Neumann-Villemin
Illustrated By: Kris Di Giacomo
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Kids will love this clever twist on the traditional "big, bad wolf" story. If your young person is attracted to quirky, off-kilter stories like, "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs", then this book is for them.
Edmond Bigsnout is a lone wolf living in the woods who gets a hankering for city rabbit (grain-fed, silky-haired, slightly sweet). This sounded like a sophisticated foody getting descriptive about their grain-fed beef. Mr. Bigsnout even looks the part in a very dashing tuxedo. He hops on his bike and heads to the big city in search of bunny delicacies. Conveniently, he finds an apartment buzzer labeled with the name, "Max Omotose, miniature rabbit". Interestingly, when I looked up the name on-line (it sounded too specific and I was sure it meant something) I found the term, "myxomatose". This is a rabbit disease which kills its victims within 14 days. I don't suggest looking up pictures (as I did). Too sad.
Edmond comes to the the city prepared with a knife. When he enters the apartment complex, murder weapon in paw, the residents mistake him for a friendly (non-murderous) new neighbor. They keep finding innocent uses for his weapons and poor Edmond keeps bicycling back to the woods for new implements of death. Finally, he arrives on the building roof carrying a mustard pot determined to just eat the bunny. To his surprise, all the neighbors (including Max) are up there having a party. "Please join us," says the nattily dressed bunny, "we won't eat you." The final scenes shows the Bigsnout home in the country for sale. We see the happily vegetarian Edmond ensconced in an apartment in Max's building.
Do not be alarmed by the grocery list of murder weapons. Kids love this sort of thing. The point of the book is not "Murder 101". The author is showing kids the power of kindness. Even the big, bad wolf can change and learn to be good. We all can change.
The beautiful illustrations add so much to this book. The different components are almost like cutouts. There are all sorts of great textures on each page. For example, the page where the turkey finds the knife has a diamond pattern smeared on the floor, sunburst pattern on her dress, a leathery feel to the jacket, shiny red pumps, and some sort of roughness in the background. Such a wonderful view for the eye. Also, I love the artist's use of blank space. The wolf's eye is just a cut out in his head but as you read the book, his eyes show so much emotion. I loved that. When Edmond arrives at the apartment building, we see this wolf standing in front of the building (really just a brownish slab) wth a balcony. We see all this blank space which cements his lone wolf status, his distance from the others. Another scene shows Edmond descending stairs. The picture is just a line drawing of stairs with the wolf. Somehow those lines look like a saggy stairwell in an old building. The steps seem to compress as Edmond walks.
This book was pure pleasure for me. It's an ode to the power of kindness and our ability to change. I loved it and your kids will too.
I'm not a vegetarian, and I'm not totally certain Naumann-Villemin has set out to convert children to vegetarianism. On the surface, this is the story about a wolf who came to judge that his neighbors are more valuable as friends than as meat. The greater message is that all of us should view our neighbors as friends, not as targets from whom we might finagle our next meal or some other benefit.
So bring on the meat for dinner (for us humans), but let us look out for our neighbors, too. Most of us don't take enough time for the people around us. Like the wolf and his new neighbors, we should consider a get together on the roof, or whatever convenient gathering place you can find.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
Maybe kids would find this book funny. I don't know. I found it rather morbid, which usually doesn't bother me, but this book rubbed me the wrong way. Perhaps because of the weapons? I'm not big on violence or weapons meant to cause violence.
Blog: Mom's Radius
Edmond Bigsnout is a wolf living alone in the woods. He is also hungry for rabbit, but a specific kind of rabbit that lives in the city. When he finds his quarry living in an apartment, he thinks he's in luck. Instead, he forgets his knife in the elevator. What follows next are a series of trips home to get another in a series of implements, all of which get borrowed by inhabitants of the building. How it ends, is up to you to find out.
It's a bit dark for a picture book, but I quite liked it. Edmond's constant attempts to murder the bunny with different implements seem to get lamer and lamer, but I think that adds to the humor. Apparently, no one told Edmond he could use his teeth and claws. The ending is cute and clever as are the illustrations.
I received a review copy of this ebook from Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.
With his plans foiled over and over how will he ever get his choice meal? Finally he takes his mustard and plan on eating the rabbit just as he is. He does this, only to find that the rabbit has gone to roof-- and with him all of his neighbors and all of the wolf's belongings!
Joining a party and learning about what it can be like with others is where we leave our Mr. Bigsnout.
This book is a funny tale on the determination of a wolf and the ways that he, unwittingly, joins in a community fun.
I received a complementary copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.