... "If you don't stop being silly this minute," he roared, "I will eat you, so there!"...
One of our all time favourite books, read incessantly, and repeatedly in the one sitting, is Simon Puttock's Big, Bad Wolf is Good, (Koala Books, 2001). The story seeks to redeem the reputation of wolves by introducing us to one particular wolf who sets forth to be good, and helpful, and to do a noble deed, in order to gain some friends. This is not, however, rather predictably, an easy quest. On each successive attempt, the object of his good intentions shoos him away not trusting a self-styled, reformed wolf. The mother goose, chicken and duck and their broods all rush inside their houses, slam the door and make faces through the window chanting "Big Bad Wolf, stay away and DON'T come back another day!"
Children love the repetitive element of the narrative with its parallel to the classic The Three Little Pigs. They understand the wolf-as-villian stereotype but sympathise with our wolf's innocent frustration. In the end, he proves he's really just a big, old softie when he comes across tearful, lost duckling Number Five and scoops him up and takes him home unharmed. Mrs Duck is forced to acknowled his noble deed and invites him in for tea, where he has a rollicking good time playing with the ducklings and savouring his newly formed friendship. A satisfying, happy ending.
Lynne Chapman, really make the book. The pastel drawings are crisp and comical, the colours bright and appealing. The cartoon-style characters are endearing. For pre-schoolers and early readers the visual element of a book is key to their enjoyment and this book cleverly marries text and image so that children are also capable of 'reading' it to themselves.
We so enjoyed this book, that we hunted out others by the charming, Edinbugh-based Mr Puttock and discovered there are more than thirty which look equally as delicious.
My overactive imagination, after the umpteenth reading and over three childhoods, has started to muse on the possibility of a romantic sequel. Mrs Duck, the single parent, and her unlikely suitor. There are certain to be literary archetypes or leading man-leading lady stock characters which could be exploited, and the two ARE last seen in an affectionate embrace.
The character of the villanous Big Bad Wolf (BBW) originates in several folkloric stories, including some of Aesop's Fables and Grimm's Fairy Tales. In 1933, the BBW made his Disney film debut as a properly rounded character and went on to appear seven more times, never, of course, learning his lesson.
Source: Disney Archives