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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)
I am so Strong
by Mario Ramos
Age Range: Under_5
An incorrigible, bullying and egotistical wolf struts through the forest intent upon proving that he is the strongest. Along the way he encounters other woodland animals and characters from fairy tales. There’s a subdued air of menace in every word the wolf utters; when he meets a little rabbit he calls him ‘Sugar Bun’; Little Red Riding Hood is ‘my little strawberry’ and the three little pigs are ‘little bacon bits’. In the wolf’s mind, of course, they are all a mouth-watering meal. However, all of them are shrewd enough to affirm that the wolf is indeed the strongest of them all. A twist in the tale at the end of the book ensures the wolf meets his match and finally gets his comeuppance.
Mario Ramos' thickly brushed watercolour illustrations are big and bold. They alternate between the lush green forest and full page close ups of the wolf on the left-hand-page with those he meets depicted much smaller, by comparison, on the right-hand-page which adds to the comic tension. Look out for the bird who's watching everything that happens with a quizzical look on his face.
I am so Strong is a clever, funny book that also carries a serious message about bullying. The surprise ending demonstrates that bullies are cowards and when confronted the wolf is anxious to show that he’s just a ‘harmless little wolf’.
A second book Aren’t I Handsome also published by Gecko Press follows the vain wolf as he takes a walk through the forest to show off.