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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Wolf and Dog
by Sylvia Vanden Heede
Age Range: 9-11
Wolf is Dog’s cousin and Dog is Wolf’s cousin. Wolf is wild and lives in a forest on top of a hill while Dog is tame and has a basket and an owner.
In these nine hilarious short stories by the popular Flemish children’s writer Sylvia Vanden Heede, Dog and Wolf discuss the important things in life – like food, family and fleas!
This is a quirky book that contrasts the differences between Wolf and Dog constantly. Wolf is uncouth while his cousin Dog is domesticated and more refined. Each story is loosely related to the next and as they progress they become increasingly about one-upmanship. Although Dog is a bit in awe of Wolf, after all he does have very sharp teeth, he begins to identify Wolf’s weak spots such as his inability to read.
Wolf needs Dog’s help in dealing with a troublesome cat who has taken up residence in his forest. He promises Dog that there will be an article in the newspaper about his bravery if he successfully encourages the cat to leave. Of course, the unscrupulous Wolf does no such thing, so Dog gets his own back by putting a 'for rent' notice in the paper for Wolf's forest!
Wolf and Dog is written in simple language with a dialogue style full of rhymes and wordplay. The excellent translation from Bill Nagelkerke captures the nuances and witty repartee between these two unlikely companions.
The pen and ink watercolour illustrations by Dutch artist Marije Tolman have so much humour - Wolf sitting on top of a stool made out of a pile of bones eating meat from a tire balanced on an old toilet while an angry Dog rages at him or Wolf devouring all the food strewn on the floor as Dog rushes to get a knife and fork. The miniature colour vignettes are gems too – even the fleas have character! Readers are sure to enjoy the battles of wits between Dog and Wolf in this engaging book.