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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)
Little Wise Wolf
by Gijs van der Hammen
Age Range: 6-8
Little Wise Wolf is very clever; he only has time for one thing: reading books and studying the stars. When the other animals of the forest come to him to get answers to their different questions – “What do butterflies eat?” “Where does the rain come from?” or being asked if he can teach Rabbit to read - he always brushes them off saying he is far too busy. Until one day a big black crow appears with a request from the King, who is very ill. He wants Little Wolf to visit him because he believes he is the only one with the knowledge to make him well again. Now the Little Wise Wolf must decide what to do.
A wonderful fable-like tale by Dutch author Gijs van der Hammen and illustrator Hanneke Siemensma, translated by Laura Watkinson. Siemensma’s dark palette of matte, muted colour combines with subtle bursts of small amounts of brighter colours which enhances the level of detail in the artwork. Amidst a sea of green foliage black silhouettes appear of the forest animals making their way to the Little Wolf’s house. There they encounter a pair of bright red boots outside the door across which a ‘do not disturb’ sign is strategically placed. Similarly, the dark mountains across which Little Wolf must trek have only one bright splash of colour - Little Wolf’s red boots, one of which lies forlornly at the bottom of the mountain. A clever double-page spread divided into three shows the long road ahead that Little Wolf must travel as he pedals away on his bicycle. Little Wise Wolf is an enchanting tale about a little wolf who slowly comes to realise that he may not be as wise as he thinks he is.