The Big Bad Wolf in My House

Groundwood. Mar. 2021. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781773065014.
PreS-Gr 4–In a straightforward manner, a small girl narrates how life changes drastically after the Big Bad Wolf moves into her home. The girl and her mother live together until the mother’s boyfriend joins the household. At first, they all seem to get along but for the cold looks he directs at the child. One evening the mother is held up in heavy traffic and the wolf goes into a rage. The wolf, shown as a wolf while mother and daughter are stylized, almost fairy-tale perfect humans, does nothing to help around the house and angers easily, often “howling” at them and throwing his dinner on the floor when it’s cold. The girl tries to become invisible when she hears his raised voice but that doesn’t work and there are times she has to hide her bruises with long sleeves. He enters her bedroom uninvited but what occurs is left to the imagination: “So I built a fort made of bricks. I put it up around my heart.” Life dramatically changes again the day her mother packs a bag and they flee to a shelter. This brave book is not merely bibliotherapy. It’s a form of deliverance for those who are young, silenced, or inarticulate, while older children will want to discuss more elaborately the issues it addresses. The art resonates, casting simple shapes to allow the text to bear the weight of what is said, and what is not.
VERDICT Children who need this book will understand the subtext, and as no community is safe from domestic abuse, the hopeful message will encourage those experiencing similar situations to talk. For every collection.

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