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Pickle Me This

August 26, 2011

Our Best Books from this week's library haul: Big Wolf & Little Wolf and You're Finally Here

I do like my picture books to have a message, but one curled up so tiny in the core of the story that you don’t even notice it until you think about it. We don’t like our picture books to patronize, of course, and a little silliness is always welcome, but as a student of literature, I am accustomed to deconstructing the best books and coming up with something, something greater than the whole.

In Nadine Brun-Cosme and Oliver Tallec’s Big Wolf & Little Wolf, I suppose that something is a message about an older sibling’s fear of his place being usurped by a younger. I think a child who’s experiencing such fears could be led to some good conversations by discussing this book, but this is not the reason this is one of our favourite books this week. No, we like it because Brun-Cosme has named her two wolves Big Wolf and Little Wolf, and when you’re two years old, the big/little dichotomy is endlessly fascinating. Also, because when you’re two, you feel an affinity with “little” things. When Little Wolf (who’s moved into Big Wolf’s territory in a way that’s quite presumptuous) disappears, Harriet becomes very concerned. “Where is Little Wolf?” she asks on every page, and then when we finally catch a glimpse of Little Wolf way off on the horizon, she feels as though she’s done something heroic in locating him. It’s a story about friendship, love and sharing: “For the first time he said to himself that a little one, indeed a very little one, had taken up space in his heart. A lot of space.” And let’s face it, we all know what that’s like…

Bonus: Our bonus book of the week is You’re Finally Here by Melanie Watt, which we can’t take any credit for discovering because the librarian handed it to us. It’s a bit of a metafictional riff of Mo Willems’ We Are In a Book, except that the bunny rabbit here has no qualms about being a storybook character. He’s just bored, waiting for the reader to finally arrive, and then when we do, he can’t quite hold his tongue– What took us so long? Because he hates waiting, and it’s rude to keep someone waiting, and he so harangues us in a most amusing fashion with blazing text and fury that Harriet finds funny. And then his cell-phone rings, and we discover who’s the rude one after all…

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