Cover image for Beware of the storybook wolves
Beware of the storybook wolves
Child, Lauren.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2001.

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 31 cm
When two wolves escape one night from his fairy tale book and threaten to eat him, Herb enlists the reluctant help of Cinderella's fairy godmother.
Reading Level:
AD 670 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.5 0.5 50481.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.6 2 Quiz: 24371 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Clarence Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Collins Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Eden Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Kenmore Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Lancaster Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Niagara Branch Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Audubon Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Oversize

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Herb loves to be scared by the wolves in his storybooks as long as his mom takes the books out of his room at night. But one night Herb gets some unwanted company when two wolves want to eat him for dinner. With help from other characters from his books, Herb avoids becoming the main course. Full-color illustrations.

Author Notes

Lauren Child (born in 1965 in England) is an English author and illustrator. She is best known for writing the Charlie and Lola books and Clarice Bean novels. Her second book in this series, Clarice Bean Spells Trouble, was shortlisted for the 2005 British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year. A number of spin off books are available based on the scripts of the TV shows, though these were not written or illustrated by Child. Charlie and Lola has been sold throughout the world, and has won many prizes, including BAFTAs in 2007 for Best children's Television Show and Best Script. She writes the Ruby Redfort series. Book six, Blink and You Die, is on the bestseller list.

Lauren Child lives in London. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-7. Every night Herb's mother reads him a bedtime story, which often features hairy, ugly wolves. Each night, Herb tells his mother to take the book with her, "because there's a wolf inside." Sure enough, on the one night Mom forgets, two smelly wolves appear in his bedroom (one is dressed in a suit and tie; a younger one, with a patch over his eye, is dressed in knee pants). The wolves are ready to eat the boy until he tricks them into thinking little boys are only for dessert. Then what's the appetizer? So begins a wacky trip through several stories where a fairy godmother puts the young wolf into Cinderella's dress and turns the other one into a caterpillar--that's good for Red Riding Hood, who meets a caterpillar in the forest instead of a wolf. The artwork is frantic--strips of color serve as background for exuberant pen-and-watercolor pictures reminiscent of Quentin Blake's art, only kicked up one dizzy notch. This goofy tale is fractured in all the right places. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Herb loves his Little Red Riding Hood picture book, with its lupine villain and its back-cover ad for "The Little Fierce Wolf and the Three Pink Piglets." He also prefers to keep the book at a distance, "Because there's a wolf in it, of course." One night, after his mother mistakenly leaves it on his bedside table, Herb smells wolf breath and hears "a deep rumbling sound... like the rumbling of a very hungry tummy." He flicks on the lamp and sees his two storybook wolves licking their chops. Herb grabs a fairy-tale treasury, flips to a picture of a fairy godmother "and shook it until she tumbled out of the book and onto the floor." With the godmother's help, the wolves are banished. Despite the tense situations, Child keeps the mood light with brightly patterned cut paper and collage elements like sequins and feathers. She alleviates dark areas with ample negative space and with backdrops of pale pink and robin's-egg blue. Her mock-threatening wolves have ridiculous pointy noses, prickly fur and incongruous coats and ties. The chatty narrative is not as effective here as it is in Child's Clarice Bean series; it reads a bit like an ad-lib, with too many twists and turns. Yet Child succeeds in dramatizing ambivalence to scary books, which provide excitement but harbor nightmarish creatures in their pages. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-Despite its eye-popping visual whimsy, this offering misses the mark on several fronts. Herb has a phobia about the wolves that populate his bedtime stories. His mother always takes the books away with her at night so the wolves that live inside it won't bother him while he sleeps. But one night she forgets, and Herb's worst fears are confirmed when two wolves materialize in his room, leading a parade of stock fairy-tale characters behind them. It doesn't take long for the Fairy Godmother to send Little Wolf off to the ball wearing Cinderella's dress and to turn Big Wolf into a caterpillar. After that, none of Herb's storybook plotlines are ever the same again. (Imagine a "tiny caterpillar trying with all his might to terrify a little girl in a red coat.") The story does a lot of meandering and while Child was obviously trying to make it zany and fun, it is ultimately just cluttered and directionless. However, her artwork is undeniably magnetic. Lively collages incorporate feathers, fabric samples, and wood grain, adding depth and variety to Herb's otherwise two-dimensional universe. The artist employs numerous typefaces and varies the size, shape, and orientation of the text to complement the twists and turns of the story. While many children will be caught up in the superlative artwork and might not mind the lack of a good story, this is not a happily ever after selection.-Catherine T. Quattlebaum, DeKalb County Public Library, Atlanta, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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