Sunday, October 30, 2011

Big Wolf and Little Wolf: Such a Beautiful Orange


Nadine Brun-Cosme; Illustrated by Olivier Tallec

This is the third and final book in what is most likely my all time favorite picture book series. If you are not familiar with The Little Leaf That Wouldn't Fall and the original Big Wolf and Little Wolf, you must check them out. 

The two wolves awake one morning, both spying a beautiful orange hanging above their heads. It looks so sweet and so bright, that piece of fruit is all they can think about. Big Wolf climbs up and picks it, discovering it to be even brighter and more round in his paw than he had imagined it would be. Although Big Wolf very desperately wants that sweet orange for himself, he casually tosses it to his small blue friend. The orange globe sails over his head and rolls down the hill. One glimpse of Big Wolf's dejected face is all Little Wolf needs, to know he must retrieve the orange.

Big Wolf waits for a very long time, but there is no sight of his friend. Alarmed, knowing it will be getting dark soon, he ventures after Little Wolf, right into the city. Big Wolf soon finds the sweet orange lying on the street, but there is no blue wolf in sight, and he is terribly worried. When night sets, Big Wolf does not know what to do. He wants nothing more than to be under their tree, safe and sound. Instead, he is alone in a strange place: no grass, no trees, only silence. Not knowing what else to do, he lets out a long howl. And in that instant, he knows Little Wolf is near.

Big Wolf makes it through the night, and things look more promising in the morning. Eventually, he finds a hill very much like his hill, with a tree that looks similar to his old tree. And under that tree .... a tiny blue wolf! Upon closer inspection, this new area is nicer than the old, with a sandy beach and a very large body of water. Best of all, the smile on Little Wolf's face seems a bit brighter. Big Wolf forgets how scared and cross he was, and tosses the sweet orange to his friend, without a word. The two friends live happily ever after, on this new patch of land, under their new tree.

Although I loved this book, I thought it was quite different from the first two books in the series. It seemed deeper and darker, a few of the pages were almost desolate. And I found myself feeling a bit angry with Little Wolf, who seemed to be happily cavorting on the beach while his larger friend was roaming the streets, worried to death while searching for him. But Big Wolf holds no grudge, so nor will I. Again, the phrasing here is just as perfect as in the other books and the illustrations are just as dreamy. A bit darker, yes, but I wouldn't miss this one for the world.  

Review copy provided by Enchanted Lion.

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