‘Wolfie: an Unlikely Hero’ stars in this clever metafictional story of a wolf that ‘is sick of being the bad guy and for once, just once, would LOVE to be the hero (so says the author).’ The back jacket cover seals the appeal with its very clever letter from ‘Wolfie’ to readers. Put these together for a bonus with the familiar elements of fairy tales such as princesses locked in towers, dragons taking home prized objects, silly yet sophisticated humour, alternating first and third person narrators, and perfectly rendered illustrations. Here you have a story of immediate attraction for both naïve and sophisticated readers.
Wolfie is determined to reverse the stereotype of wolves, contending that there should be stories about nice, loyal, brave and heroic wolves. Readers will sympathise with this ‘sleek, strong, cunning and quick wolf’ that questions stereotypes. Why not portray the wolf in a ‘nice’ way? The very patient storyteller listens to our Wolf’s demands and continues to change the story, but with each fresh start, the wolf asserts that, yet again, this new portrayal is simply untrue! Why is every wolf story about ‘chomping on chicken’ or ‘pestering piglets’?’ There are some elements to this story worthy of stimulating discussion such as the princess rescuing herself or the final twist when the wolf comes to a sticky end.
Connah Brecon’s illustrations are the perfect accompaniment with his animated sly wolf that constantly receives his comeuppance. Comic exaggeration and humorous details fill the pages. The endpapers feature snippets of iconic images from well-known fairy tales encouraging readers to remember their favourites. Hunting for the many visual jokes in Brecon’s illustrations adds immensely to this fast-paced, humorous romp through familiar fairy tale worlds.