Monday, August 10, 2009

Big Wolf & Little Wolf

Enchanted Lion Books

Nadine Brun-Cosme; Illustrations by Olivier Tallec

I just can't say enough good things about this book. I fell in love immediately and found myself wanting more at the end. The illustrations, the story - lovely, wonderful, excellent! A stunning book with a simple message reminding us of the beauty of friendship.

Big Wolf quite contentedly lives alone under his tree at the top of a grassy hill. Each morning, he climbs the tree to perform his exercises, which is followed by freshly picked fruit for breakfast. After eating, he takes a long walk and enjoys the solitude. When darkness approaches, he snuggles up under his leaf blanket and settles in for the night. It has always been this way and Big Wolf has always felt satisfied.

Until one day, Big Wolf spots a blue wolf coming towards him in the distance, looking no bigger than a dot. He worries that this wolf will be bigger than him, but is reassured to discover this new wolf is indeed very small (and very blue). The wolves do not speak to each other, but are certainly aware of each other, sneaking sidelong glances. When night time approaches,Little Wolf remains, and Big Wolf shares a teeny tiny corner of his leaf blanket.

In the morning, Big Wolf resumes his typical morning routine, this time with Little Wolf copying his every move. He is careful to pick extra fruit to share for breakfast and finds himself enjoying the company. But when Big Wolf returns from his daily walk, there is no sign of his new friend. Immediately, Big Wolf feels uneasy and searches everywhere. When he can't find Little Wolf, he feels very sad. How is it possible that small a small wolf has taken up so much room in his heart?

When Little Wolf does return, Big Wolf's heart nearly leaps from his body with happiness. Both Little Wolf and Big Wolf realize how lonely they were without the other. They mutually decide that from that moment on, they will live together under the tree. And that's how it will always be.

It's all the small details that make this book so wonderful. On the page where they meet, the wolves are trying so hard to look casual, but you can see the sideways glances they cast. Gorgeous illustrations convey real emotion, with just a tiny bit of humor. It is terribly difficult to explain what a perfect match the writing style and illustrations are. Really and truly, this is one of my very favorite books of the year.

Another little detail that makes us terribly happy? The sequel Big Wolf & Little Wolf, The Leaf That Wouldn't Fall will be coming out this October! The same great wolves, this time wearing winter gear ....


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