Imagine a Wolf

Page Street Kids. Jan. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781624149320.
PreS-Gr 1–A narrator invites the onlookers of these pages to close their eyes and “Imagine a wolf.” What does the wolf look like? Platt’s unnamed wolf does not embody stereotypes. In fact, the exclamations of people passing (“What big teeth!” “What big ears!”) pain the wolf and bring tears to its eyes. Platt’s wolf, wearing a dress and wedge sandals, would rather knit cozy, colorful sweaters for shivering sheep than prey upon them. This title could spur conversations with children about looking beyond the surface and reexamining preconceived ideas. Though the message is substantial, Platt’s oil, pen, ink, and colored pencil illustrations are a mixed bag. The close-up illustrations of the wolf are the strongest, especially the spread highlighting the contrast of its emerald green eyes and intricately painted soft fur with razor-sharp teeth. However, the illustrations in between these examinations are not as striking and are at times difficult to decipher. Although the concept is robust, it’s handled better in Morag Hood’s recent Brenda Is a Sheep.
VERDICT A strong beginning tugs at the heartstrings, but the story trails off and then abruptly ends, making this an additional purchase at best.

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