by John Rocco
Wolf is old, tired and friendless. He spends his days fighting a losing battle against the weeds in his garden. When he hears a far-off voice calling, "Wolf! Wolf!" he hauls his creaking, cracking joints down the mountain to see if someone is inviting him to share a meal. He arrives to find a boy who should be minding his goats, but prefers playing tricks on the villagers. Wolf, who (surprisingly) doesn't like tricky boys or angry villagers with sticks, sneaks away. When the boy cries, "Wolf! Wolf!" again, Old Wolf treks back to see if another wolf is stealing the goats. Instead he finds more angry villagers. (Dang those angry villagers!) But when the boy tries to trick those townfolk for the third time, it's the boy who gets tricked and Old Wolf who ends up with a friend and a weed-free garden.
In this clever retelling of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, John Rocco weaves a tight story to show that things aren't always as they seem. From the villagers' point of view, events follow the classic tale. The wolf's vantage point offers a much different reality. His behind-the-scenes account of what really happens might make readers rethink other classic tales. Rocco sets his rendition in long-ago China and illustrates it with warm tones and slightly angular lines. This is a well-written, quietly funny book that is perfect to share with any tricky kid who loves a good tale.