Top critical review
Disturbing book, not enjoyable.
Reviewed in the United States on July 29, 2008
I initially wrote this as a COMMENT about another reviewer's post. Since that actually became a review in and of itself, I am just pasting it here (with some slight editing) as well, so it can be seen as a review:
I had heard about "Wolves" and was curious about this seemingly unusual children's book. It was a reviewer's comments which convinced me to purchase this book for my nephew. It was a mistake and I plan to return the book and never show this book to a child.
Let me start out making a few things clear: I detest "sappy" books, and the cited (in the other person's review) "The Giving Tree" might possibly be my least favorite book ever published; it is a horrible "role model" for, well, anyone. But Wolves goes TOO far in the other direction. I do believe in teaching children (and yes, I have 2 of my own, they're grown now, that is why I was buying the book for my nephew, not my daughters) the "realities" of life. They knew early on that carnivores are animals that eat smaller ones to survive. My pragmatic 2 1/2 year old daughter held out her dinner plate (25 years ago) and asked "More cow, please", so it is not the CONTENT of the book's message that disturbs me, it is the execution.
Textures? Not in my copy. Illustrations? Childish, simplistic, uneven, scratchy. Real facts about wolves? Some. Not a lot. There's a rabbit. He checks the book out of the "burrowing library". clever. He walks with his nose stuck in the book. We get some cold dry facts about wolves. We see a double page spread from the book rabbit is reading that tells us "In some areas wolves have retreated to places where fewer people live, such as forests and woodland." The illustration on that page is a canopy of 4 trees that form into a wolf. Not clever. Then suddenly, on the very next page, rabbit, with his nose still in the book, walks past 4 enormous wolf legs. Then up his tail. Then across his back. Then onto his snout - where the hungry wolf eyes rabbit, with a knife and fork in his hands. (Grey wolves are fond of kitchen utensils, I am told).
When the reviewer mentions the final view of the rabbit's book, "now criss-crossed with rips and tears and even a bite or two", he is not understating it. This is the most realistic illustration in the book, and it looks downright vicious. Not slyly humorous. Just disturbing. And, of course, no rabbit.
Yes, there is a disclaimer about no rabbits being harmed.
There is a ridiculous "alternate ending" (read the other reviews for more details on this, it was fully covered with no further elaboration needed).
Bottom line: "Wolves" - Thumbs down. Disturbing, Not amusing. Not for kids - or anyone.