Friday, December 4, 2009

Big Wolf & Little Wolf: The Little Leaf that Wouldn't Fall

Enchanted Lion Books
Nadine Brun-Cosme; Illustrated by Olivier Tallec

When Big Wolf & Little Wolf was published last year, I was blown away by both the story and the illustrations. It was quite simply a very magical, beautiful book from start to finish. While I was terribly excited to discover there was a sequel written about those very same wolves, I was also a bit apprehensive that it would not live up to the initial book. I can now say this one is every bit as exquisite as the first. Same sweet wolves, more spellbinding illustrations, plus a brand new tale. Win, win, win for the readers!!

The two wolf friends are enjoying a warm spring day together when Little Wolf spies the most perfect sweet green leaf high up on their tree. He asks Big Wolf to fetch it for him, but Big Wolf replies that he should be patient and wait for the leaf to fall. Summer and fall arrive in turn, and still Big Wolf asks his smaller companion for patience.

It isn't until the winter winds bluster in, that Big Wolf suddenly announces, for no reason at all "I'm going up!" As good as his word, he climbs straight up into the heart of that big tree. The snow and ice make for a terribly slippery ascent, but he knows that leaf is meant for Little Wolf and he is determined to retrieve it. Far down on the ground, Little Wolf is rooted to the ground, wide-eyed and and feeling bit regretful he has asked for so much.

Little Wolf does not say a word until Big Wolf has both feet safely on the ground. And only then does he tell his friend what a beautiful thing he had done. Both wolves smile and tuck in (with appropriately sized fluffy white pillows and blankets) for the night. It is wonderful to see the great lengths one true friend will go for another.

The loveliness of the images are easy to prove, as you can see by the photos above. As for the perfect phrasing, I have chosen a few of my favorites to give you a feel for the writing: "He said it just like that, for no reason at all. Just to see Little Wolf's eyes sparkle." I also love "Little Wolf looked up into this rain of gentle stars." Sadly, presenting fragments is not as compelling as reading this tale in its entirety and you don't get a true sense of the magic.

I can confidently say that this book is as much of a must-read as the first. If you are not familiar with these wolves, I really think you are missing out on something special. Both books make my list of absolute favorites!

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