Monday, December 9, 2013

Princess' Pinterest

The Mansfield Public Library in Massachusetts is my favorite library, that's where all my books come from.  I'm not actually allowed in, of course, but the books that Mom brings home always smell good, and they're good reading!  She has helped me make a Pinterest Board on the Library Pinterest page, so if you want a visual of all the books I've read and reviewed you can go to Pinterest, type in Mansfield Library, and look for my Board, "Princess's Favorite Books". 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tom Angleberger Has Become Part of Our Bedtime Routine

Link to book in SAILS Network

You may know Tom Angleberger as the author of the Origami Yoda books, but I know him as the famous author of Crankee Doodle, by far the best book that I have ever found under the bed with all the dust bunnies.  You need to read this, but before you read it make sure you remember the song, which is extremely silly in my opinion.  It turns out that this book is even sillier, but dare I say also brilliant!  The very toothy Pony is trying to get Crankee Doodle to go to town, and Crankee will have none of it.  You have never heard anyone complain so much over a simple request!  At the suggestion of buying a feather for his hat he is positively waving his arms around in consternation, and that is where our bedtime routine comes in.  The Little One yells down the stairs, "Daddy, be Crankee Doodle!"  and Daddy waves his arms around like spaghetti and yells things like, "You want a glass of water?  Why would you want a glass of water, you'll just have to pee!  Water just goes right through you, and you can't possibly expect me to go get you a glass and then turn on the faucet and run the water into it and then carry it upstairs..."  Anyway, you get the idea.  I'll just say that both the Pony and the Little One get what they want through tears, but first there is a lot of hilarity and arm-waving.  Don't miss this one, it will make you laugh outright, and make sure you read the Pony's version of the song's history on the last page.

Link to book in SAILS Network

If you happen to be a little older, and a girl, you will love this other book I found under the bed, right next to a piece of popcorn.  First I ate the popcorn (stale) and then I opened up this book with my tongue.  It is called Heaven Is Paved with Oreos and it is written by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, who happens to be the sister of Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love which I have never read, but I would if it were called  Eat, Pee, Love.
So first there were some books about cows and football, the Dairy Queen trilogy, which Mom says are great.  The characters of those books are in this one, too, but the most important person here is Sarah.  She is best friends with Curtis, but maybe he is more than a friend.  Or maybe he isn't.  It is so confusing, for her and for me.  Luckily her somewhat flaky but lovely Grandma wants to take her to Rome, and that seems like a really great idea since everything at home has gotten so awkward.  The trip is full of surprises, some good and some bad, sort of like discovering a mouse in the house and then realizing the cats have already removed its tail.  Sarah learns a lot and also eats a lot, which I especially liked, although I can't really eat Oreos.  They look yummy, though.
Even better than Oreos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This book made my heart swell because the most important thing Sarah learns is that love is amazing in all its forms, which I already knew.  I don't even have to go to Rome to understand the power of love because I'm a dog, the embodiment of love!  If I do say so myself.
Me giving love and getting it in return

Monday, November 11, 2013

PSY, Gangnam Style, and the Power of Music

How am I going to tie this in with this blog about books?  Keep reading to find out!
Mom wants me to write about "The Barely Controlled Chaos That Is Our Life", or "Why Are the Pets and Children Making Such a Mess?"  I told her, "No!, this is my blog about BOOKS!"  Although it sounded like, "woof, woof, woof!!"

So I am going to ignore her and tell you about some books that I love, ones that show how music can change your life.  I know, because in my previous life down in Georgia I only got to listen to Country and Western, which made my skin itch.  Then on the van up to Maine they played only what I think they call "pop music", which I did not like as much as I like what they call "popcorn'.  Now I get to listen to all sorts of music on those magic discs!  Some make my Dad do what Mom calls "interpretive dance", some make my Mom practically jump up and down!  Some are just so beautiful that I can feel my heart beat faster. 

Mole Music is a book that gives you something new each time you look at it.  David McPhail uses watercolors and ink for his pictures, and they go deeper than his words, which are few and perfectly chosen.  This seems like a simple book at first, but then you realize that it is so powerful.  It is like the layers of a Dingo Stick, that you chew and savor, forgetting that you are really controlling the tartar on your teeth.  Mole Music has layers, too, the underground where Mole lives, and the above ground where the World is unfolding, unseen by Mole.  The instrument of change is the violin, which Mole orders through the mail and then learns to play.  Boy, does that take a long time!  He is so determined, and while he is learning a whole oak tree grows! Also, he changes the world, but the beauty of the book is that he doesn't know it - all he knows is the internal power of music and the joy that doing something you love brings to your own world, no matter how small.
Link to book in SAILS Network
                                                            Link to book in Amazon

Speaking of which, my world is pretty small.  A comfy couch, cats to annoy, squirrels to chase, a little neighborhood.  Those are good things, but I know from my book reading that the world is an amazing and huge place!  Also, the little one has forced me to watch something called YouTube.  Her favorite is some guy named PSY who does a silly dance.  I wouldn't think much of this, but if you were to mention him or do the dance or sing part of the song every child under 11 would join in or get excited.  That is the power of music, no matter how silly it seems to me, it can touch people from all different parts of the world, and that can connect them across cultures and borders.  I suppose YouTube is good for that, but I still prefer books.
This is not in English!  Oops, my paw hit the wrong button.  Luckily music is the universal language.

The Cello of Mr. O, by Jane Cutler, is another powerful picture book.  It takes place during a war.  A girl tells the story of her neighborhood where the people are struggling to get by.  They are surrounded by ugliness, burned and bombed buildings, no dogs to admire...  A grumpy man lives upstairs in the girl's apartment building, he does not like it when the children make noise.  He does not greet the other people with words or tail-sniffing when they are in line waiting for supplies.  The girl and her friends do not like him.  But Mr. O has a cello, and one day Mr. O creates beauty in the midst of all the ugliness.  The sound of the music and the courage of Mr. O bring hope where there has been none.  Then his cello is destroyed!  I will not tell you about the last few pages, but they are gorgeous and amazing and catch your heart.

I am going to just mention two books for older readers that are funny and make you feel good, just like my fuzzy ears and soft fur.  Too bad you can't feel them through the computer!

Notes From An Accidental Band Geek, by Erin Dionne, tells the story of Elyse who wants to be an orchestra superstar like her dad and grandad.  Somehow she ends up in the school marching band, complete with an ugly polyester band uniform.  She can't seem to get anything right!  But music transforms, no matter what form it takes.

That is true also in A Crooked Kind of Perfect, by Linda Urban.  Zoe wants a baby grand piano so much, but what her family can afford is an old wheezy organ. She has to learn how to play it from a lesson book called "The Hits of the Seventies".  This book can make you laugh out loud.  It is very inspiring, too, just like all the others I've written about.

When you read any of these books you want to get up on all four feet and sniff out an instrument, or touch your nose to the play button on the CD player and listen to some music that travels through you and comes out your fur tips.  And maybe you also want to spread that joy to your neighbor, next door or down the street or in the next town or across the ocean!  Even if that neighbor is a cat.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Halloween - What's In It For Me?

"No, Princess, don't eat the candy.  That's for the children!"
"Get your nose out of the bowl!!"
"What are you doing in the garbage?!"

That's all I hear at Halloween.  Children schmildren is what I say.  Halloween should really be for dogs, and chocolate should be taken off the Halloween menu since dogs can't eat it.  I like skittles too, you know.  And the little individual packets go down nicely.

Oh, I guess I'm supposed to be talking about books, not food.  Sorry.  I am allowed to read the Halloween books, and I do have some favorites.  There are some very fun books for Halloween.  I bet you'll already know some of my favorites, but maybe I'll also tell you about some you've never seen before!

Here's a few that aren't officially Halloween but are good to read at this time of year:

Skeleton Hiccups - I'd like to chew on some of those skeleton bones, and seeing a skeleton try to drink water sure is fun.
Hoodwinked - small witch wants pet (of course!), bats are no fun - they sleep all day!  The toad has nothing to say, the warthog doesn't work out.  Then something too hideously cute shows up at the back door.
The Tailypo - doesn't that tail look suspiciously like mine?
King of the Cats, also by Paul Galdone - Brrrr!  Cats give me the creeps, especially in graveyards!

Two classics that you may already know about:

Big Pumpkin -Like the Great Big Enormous Turnip, but more tasty.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything - Boo!

Two for the youngest listeners:
Mouse's First Halloween - Can you guess what all those noises are?  And one candy corn is a treat for a mouse (not for me, I require a whole bag)
Moonlight the Halloween Cat - It should have been about a dog, but this shows the magical excitement of being out late on a special night, maybe peeing on someone's lawn.

Fun for older:
The Perfect Pumpkin Pie - Dead cranky man buried in the backyard, new family in the house.  Unfortunately, the dead cranky man has now become a dead cranky ghost, and he won't go away until he gets the perfect pie.  Can Grandma provide it?  So funny!

Zen Ghosts - A little beyond my dog brain, I admit.  Amazing pictures and a huge panda that reminds me of my dad, at least in girth.  And how did that Panda become two pandas?

Mom's Favorites, and I tell her they're mine, too, just to be nice:
The Runaway Pumpkin - Aaaaagh!
Annie Was Warned - Is that a spider on her neck?
The Three Bear's Halloween - hee, hee, hee

Sorry I didn't add author information, but I am a dog after all.  I can only do so much.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Minecraft Versus Building Worlds Through Great Books

Ha, ha!  Made you look!  Or at least I hope so.  This is partly an experiment to see if I will get more views merely by putting the name of a popular and addictive game in my title.  I'll let you know in my next post if it works.  And you thought only foxes could be crafty!
I took this picture, which is why I'm not in it...

So, I've been away for a while in Spain.  I did some reading on the plane, as the movie was terrible and the earphones wouldn't stay in my big ears.  Mom said I didn't miss much. She had given me two of her favorite classics to read, and also brought along a paperback that neither of us had read.  We were very cozy and companionable while reading those books, just as I know you are when you are reading with someone you love.

We begin with "The Phoenix and the Carpet" by E. Nesbit, but Mom says we could start with any of her books.  "E" stands for Edith, a singularly ugly name in my opinion, but who am I to talk?  I curse whoever named me Princess.  Five brothers and sisters live in England at the beginning of the last century.  I gather that children then got to gallivant around without anyone paying any attention to what they were doing, as these children have all sorts of adventures without leashes or fences.  They start the book by burning a hole in the nursery carpet, and then are punished in the same way that our little one is punished here - one parent takes away a privilege and the other forgets and gives it back.  The next day a new carpet is purchased, and inside it is an egg, which is put on the mantelpiece.  Later, again unleashed, the children knock the egg into the fireplace, and before they can pull it out something amazing happens.  It hatches into a Phoenix!  Crikey!!!

This is a fantasy with old-fashioned charm but an amazingly modern appeal.  E. Nesbit is so funny, the children she has created are full of squabbles and laughs and mischief.  Their adventures with the magic Phoenix are wondrous, but they are also full of little disasters.  You will laugh reading about them, I know you will.

When you create a world with Minecraft you keep adding on to what you first created.  One thing leads to another, and that's a lot of the fun, and you are also picturing your world in your brain as you create it on the screen.  When you read a book by a great author you picture the world they created through their words, but you are using your own experiences to fill it in. What you are picturing will be different from what another reader would be picturing, but with the same basic structure.  Now add another layer.  Suppose a writer loved a favorite author so much that he or she decided to write their own fantasies in the same spirit.  That is what happened with Edward Eager, he modeled his wonderful series on the books he loved by E. Nesbit, but he wrote them 50 years later.

Boy, her part was boring, wasn't it?  You just want to hear about the books.  So we read "Half Magic" by Edward Eager.  Another silly person name.  Anyway, there are three sisters and a brother on a summer vacation.  They get E. Nesbit's book "The Enchanted Castle" out of the library and then wonder why exciting things like that never happen to them.  Well, they're in for a surprise!  They find a magic thing on the sidewalk, almost as good as the squirrel pelt I found in the bushes behind the firehouse tonight (which I didn't get to keep).  But it's only half a magic thing.  So when they start figuring out that it is magic and experimenting with making wishes things go hilariously wrong.

Yes, my favorite part is when Martha wishes the cat could talk, because she is lonely and needs companionship!

Stop interrupting!  So the cat suddenly starts talking, but she is saying things like, "Azy ooselfitz!  Powitzer grompaw!".  Plus she won't stop talking, and she is driving the children crazy.  You get the idea, wishes can only half come true, and it takes the children the whole book to figure out how to say the wishes so they won't backfire.  So funny!

Amazingly coincidental, but the paperback book we brought on our trip, "Any Which Wall" by Laurel Snyder, turned out to continue this trail of authors, E. Nesbit to Edward Eager.  There is a quote from Edward Eager's "Seven Day Magic" at the beginning of the book, and as I read further I saw the similarities.  A group of children with time on their hands and very little supervision, finding a crack in the mundane fabric of their everyday world.  Magic seeps through and changes their lives, this time in the form of a huge wall in the middle of an Iowan field, and a little key found in the dirt.  And their adventures

Blah, blah, blah.  What she's trying to say is that the fun lies in the unleashedness of it all, running free and having adventures.  They each get a wish, and each wish goes a bit astray.  When things go wrong they have to use their brains and bravery to make it right.

Magic is a tricky business, with no guarantees.  But like all things worthwhile, you'd rather have it than not, no matter how problematic.  And finding magic is a matter of keeping your eyes and heart open, and believing that it is possible to find it anywhere.

I find magic every day, it arrives twice in my bowl, once in the morning and once at night.  And squirrels are magical all the time, with their quick escapes and ability to disappear into thin air.  Books are magic, taking me to other worlds in my fuzzy head.  If you happened upon this blog entry because you typed "Minecraft" into Google, try picking up a book instead.
 Gratuitous picture of a Spanish cat cleaning its butt - right before I chased it!!!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wordless Adventures for the Imaginative and Minuscule

Do you like my use of the word minuscule?  I recently got my paws on a Thesaurus,
which originally I thought was a type of dinosaur.  It's not!  It's full of pages and pages of words, and if you are a dog with a blog, you need all the help you can get thinking of new ways to say things.  After all, my world is very limited.

My minuscule person, the-one-who-plays-with-my-ears, liked these three books.  She especially liked them because she is learning to read and that makes her tired and cranky.  These have no words, so you can "read" them using the picture-walk method alone.  I am going to share my take on these three new books.
Link to book in SAILS Network

"Hank Finds an Egg" by Rebecca Dudley is a visual delight. She is an artist of many skills, and this is her first picture book.  The setting is Storywood Forest, the main character a little soft creature named Hank.  Even using my sniffing skills I could not tell what kind of animal he was, he just smelled like new book pages.  He finds an egg that belongs in a nest way up in a tree.  He tries, but can't return it to the nest, so cares for it during the night.  My favorite image is of his cozy campsite.  Will this book have a happy ending?  You bet!  Take it home and enter this magical world, seemingly free of cats but full of amazing detail and sweet kindness.  The author has a blog,

Link to book in SAILS Network
Link to book in SAILS Network

"Journey" by Aaron Becker is like "Harold and the Purple Crayon", with extra gravy on top.  Red is the special color, setting a young girl free from her drab apartment in the city where everyone else is too busy to play with her.  A red crayon makes a red door that opens on an incredible squirrel's paradise with lanterns.  I didn't see any squirrels, so they must have known I was coming and hidden in the huge trees.  From here the adventure gets more and more outrageous and exciting, and there is danger, too.  But a friend appears to save the day, and real life becomes full of promise.

Wow, I am really using this Thesaurus a lot for this entry.  I bet you think I'm a pretty intelligent dog, despite my inability to learn even the most basic commands, like "sit".

The last book is called "Inside Outside" by Lizi Boyd.  The only characters are a young child and a black dog.  Mom or Dad must be nearby, but they are never in the way.  Using the Thesaurus, I know to say "the color palette is very limited, giving a cohesion to the action as we make our way through the seasons."  There are cutouts for the windows so you can see the seasons change outside, and watch as the playroom changes also.  If you are a tired parent who allows too much TV because you are overwhelmed, but you feel badly about it and want to make a change, take this book home!  Watch the little child use nothing but his imagination and what he finds around him to explore and create, see how the parents let him draw and build and paint.  They don't worry about the mess, or about him getting wet in the puddles, or about that cat sleeping in a bowl on the counter, or even the mice participating in the art!  Let go of your ideas of a perfect house, because the perfect house is your child's brain, allowed to grow unfettered!  And I think that dirt and dog hair are part of that perfect expansive environment!  So there.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Holly Black, or, "Where Have My Bones Gone?!"

Do you like books about friends?  What about books with kids doing adventurous things, maybe things that  are a little dangerous, things that could happen only in books?  Do you like spooky?  Well, if you're hankering after a book that contains all of those things you need look no further than Holly Black's new book, "Doll Bones".  I shiver just thinking about that doll, and the way she moves on her own.  9 and up is probably a good age to read about what happens in this book.
What does this have to do with bones?  You'll never guess, so I'll tell you just a little!  A girl in the past met a tragic end (it involved a squishy, flattening experience - much like the mole from my last entry).  Her heartbroken father did something really gross and she ended up becoming a part of this doll that three friends, the hero and heroines of this book, find years later.  They have a dangerous and crazy adventure without parental permission, which you should never do!  It makes for a great, adventurous, and spooky story though.

Well, I for one am never going to do that to any bones, no matter how beloved!  It's downright frightening!  I like to sniff at bones, and chomp on them, and dig holes for them, maybe taunt the cats a little...

I guess besides chewing on bones you can also use them to help solve mysteries and crimes!  I didn't know this until I read, "Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History's Mysteries" by Elizabeth MacLeod.  I didn't even know history had mysteries.  Gosh, I don't even know what history is!

Anyway, this book is so interesting for extra-intelligent dogs and children ages 9 and up.  There's lots of pictures of bones and body parts, and true crime stories involving famous dead people like Napoleon and King Tut and Grand Duchess Anastasia.  How did they really die, and who probably killed them?  Find out about what amazing technology is now being used to solve old cases and new.  I think I'd become a dog detective if I had opposable thumbs.  Maybe I can help just by sniffing and gnawing at the bones.

Don't worry, you can still enjoy books about bones if you are 7 and younger.  Lisze Bechtold wrote a book called "Buster & Phoebe: The Great Bone Game".  This one is not scary, but it does have a little bossiness, some bullying, some lying, some subterfuge.  Turns out not all dogs are upstanding citizens!  Buster is a good boy, and is my favorite color for a dog.  Phoebe is older, with super curly ears, and she does not behave in a virtuous way.  The 'bone game' is not very fair, and let's be honest, Buster is not the brightest bulb in the dog universe.  However, he has heart, and he wins the game in a very satisfying way at the end.  I love the pictures, and there's lots of them.

If you are in preschool and you feel like being spooked just a little try "Skeleton Hiccups" by Margery Cuyler.  Skeletons are definitely a little scary, but seeing one trying to drink water upside down to get rid of hiccups is hilarious.  You also get to bark along to the silly hiccup sounds.  This one is a good read right before Halloween, which I just know is probably one of your favorite holidays because of all the candy.  I like Thanksgiving, you can probably guess why - turkey bones!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

I Have Got to Get Out More!


After rolling on a flattened mole on my nightly walk I jumped up to snuggle on Dad's pillow and noticed a pile of books.  They were sort of the same size, but all had very different covers.  Then I noticed a name was on all of them:  Margaret Read MacDonald.  If I were to look her up on Wikipedia I would probably find a lot of information about her, but I am a dog so I am not going to do that.  I will make some guesses about her.

1:  She has been writing for a long time.  I can tell because her hair is grey like Grammie's.
2:  She likes folktales because that's what all of these books are.
3:  She has either traveled a lot or done a lot of reading.  I will tell you how I know later.
4:  She likes an occasional muffin.  I can tell because she is roundish like a muffin.

How do I know she has either traveled or read a lot?  Because these books all take place in different countries!  This is also how I know that I need to get out more.  I didn't even know there were different countries.  All I know is this little messy house full of love and scratched-up upholstered furniture and the streets around us.  Admittedly I am surrounded by tantalizing squirrels and rabbits, but that does not an exciting life make!  Now I know about other countries and I am going to secretly plan some vacations to places where they eat sausages.  Don't tell Mom.

Here are my observations about these books:

Fat Cat: A Danish Folktale
Cat can't stop eating!  You should see the inside of his stomach with everyone in there.  And no, it is not your typical food.  Remind me not to swallow anyone holding sewing scissors.

The Great Smelly, Slobbery, Small-Tooth Dog:  A Folktale from Great Britain
Land of Kidney Pie and other savory meats!  None in the book, though.  Despite the slobber the dog is lovely and the pictures are amazing.  The lesson of the book is that all dogs, no matter how slobbery, should be called "Sweet as a Honeycomb".  Oh my gosh, he's not even a dog!!!  I feel gypped!


Mabela the Clever  (from Africa)
Another cat - not a nice one, if such a thing exists.  Unlike the mole I rolled on the mouse heroine is very smart and saves the day.  If you are near any especially nefarious cats watch out for the Fo Feng!

The Boy from the Dragon Palace  (from Japan)
A poor flower seller is granted wishes but gets too greedy and loses everything.  The moral is:  just because a child is dirty and is constantly picking his nose doesn't mean you should forget to say thank you when he brings you good luck.  At least I think that's the lesson, I was frankly a little grossed out.

How Many Donkeys?:  An Arabic Counting Tale
Learn to count in Arabic!  This funny tale is short, with a man who goes from unlucky to lucky again and again in a very funny way.  If you're at least as smart as I am you will probably get the joke.

Too Many Fairies:  A Celtic Tale
I couldn't find the country of Celtic on the map.  "Arabic" was elusive as well.  I'm confused.  Anyway, if you complain about housework you might get a visit from helpful fairies that then go wild in your house and don't want to leave.  Sounds good, you think, but you'd be wrong.

I just found a hacky sack so I must go!  Perhaps I'll see you at a sausage stand in some foreign land.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What the Schnoodlewacket Is a Cupcake?

So many books are about cupcakes these days.  What happened, did everyone decide to write about them at the same time?  I don't even know what they are, and since no one seems to cook around here I can't find out.  They look like fat toadstools with fluffy tops.  I wonder if they come in chicken or beef flavor...

The cat keeps walking across the keyboard.  It's hard enough to type without thumbs, let alone when  an annoying cat is in front of your nose.  This is what he is typing:  &%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%*GGG.  I am grumpy now.

Back to cupcakes.  I found "Just Grace and the Trouble with Cupcakes" under Mom's side of the bed.  It is written by Charise Mericle Harper.  When I nosed through it I noticed pictures of a dog, so I decided to keep  reading.  It is like a diary with pictures.  That makes it a little easier for a dog to read, because the words are further apart and the drawings help me to keep my place when my whiskers get in the way.  Yes, I have whiskers, but they are not like cat whiskers.  They are better.
There's a girl dog in the book who came with the name Mr. Scruffers.  That is silly, but it did remind me of my own situation.  I came with the name Princess.  Mom seems to keep telling people, "I didn't name her".  What, is she embarrassed by my name?  She seems to really love me so I try not to let it bother me.  Oops, back to the book!
Just Grace has two exciting things going on - the Spring Fair and a visit from Grandma.  She can't wait for Grandma to meet Mr. Scruffers!  There is a disastrous picnic which leads somehow to delicious cupcakes.  Then Grace and her best friend have a fight over candy and cupcakes and the Spring Fair.  Owen 1 turns out to not be so bad and the Cupcake Mascot turns out to be someone Grace loves.  That's all I'm going to tell you because if you are a girl, even if your name is Mr. Scruffers, you should read this book.  Especially if you like books like "Ivy and Bean" and "Clementine" and "Not-So-Weird Emma".  After you read it please tell me what a cupcake is!

You might think cupcake books are only for girls, but you would be wrong.  I found another book on the couch and it was "Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets" by Eric Luper. First Jeremy does something horrible to his dad's boat.   He has to fix it before his dad finds out, so he needs money fast!  He and his best friend see an ad for a model sailboat race and if you win you get prize money, maybe enough to fix a real boat.  But you have to be a Cupcake Cadet, and a girl, in order to race and win.  You'll never guess who dress up as girls!  Lots of funny situations, and cupcakes too!  I still don't know what cupcakes are but I really enjoyed the book.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Huffing and Puffing or Just a Lot of Hot Air?


From this:

 To this:

Has anyone else noticed that wolves in books aren't as scary as they used to be?  I don't know much about real wolves, other than the fact that they don't eat foods with ridiculous names like "kibble".  They get to eat things called "deer" or "rabbit".  Plus they don't get yelled at when they pee on the rug.

It used to be that book wolves were always scary, like in "Little Red Riding Hood" or "The Three Little Pigs" the way they were originally told.  Now wolves are doing things like eating vegetables or learning to read, maybe even baking cookies for baby chicks (see "The Wolf's Chicken Stew" by Keiko Kasza, a fun book but not one bit scary!).  Maybe you like that better, but maybe you just want to be SCARED and have the hair on your back stand on end!! That can be a fun time sometimes, too.

Here's my wolf-scariness-rating for some books - the more chomps, the scarier it is.

Four Chomps:

"Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China" by Ed Young
From the glowing eyes on the cover, to the sharp teeth on the fifth page, and then the picture of the wolf in bed on the 11th page, this is spooky stuff!  Even the three girls look spooky, with their scared eyes, just like the cats when I'm getting too close...  (I got help counting the pages, in case you wondered)

Three Chomps:

"Little Red Riding Hood" retold and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Sometimes he looks just a little goofy, but there's a real scare when he springs out of bed to snarf down Little Red, and the picture with the huntsman makes me feel a bit queasy.  Plus there's lots of black cats.  Brrrr!

Two Chomps:

Are these scary?  I'm not the brightest dog on the planet, so I'm not sure.  Parts of them are.  Maybe you are smarter than a dog and can help me figure this out.

"Wolves" by Emily Gravett
Bunny goes to the library, gets a book about wolves.  Bunny starts to read.  Danger, Bunny!  Watch where you're going, check your surroundings, pay attention!...  Oh, too late!

"Wolf's Coming" by Joe Kulka
Tasty animals hear a howl, warn each other that "Wolf's coming!", run for shelter.  Faster, faster, it's getting dark, there's now drool and a large spider, Wolf is peeking through the window...  You'll need to check out the surprise ending for yourself.

One Chomp:

"The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs" by Jon Scieszka
Got one chomp for the picture of the sandwich, and the pigs' butts.

Just Plain Silly:

"The Wolf Who Cried Boy" by Bob Hartman
"Why can't we have Boy tonight?" asks Little Wolf at dinner, but it turns out in these modern times it is just too hard to find Boy to eat, and Little Wolf does not like the foods Mother Wolf is making.  When he smells her cooking Three-Pig Salad it is just too much!  He pretends he sees a boy and by the time Mother and Father are done looking dinner is ruined and they have to have snack food for dinner.  This trick works a few more times, but then Mother and Father find out he's lying!  So they decide to ignore him the next time, and guess what happens?  I'm not going to tell you, but it has something to do with Troop 7.  So don't do any lying and eat what your parents put in front of you.

"Mr. Wolf's Pancakes" by Jan Fearnley
If a wolf asks you to help him make pancakes don't be rude, and if you are rude, don't ask for any pancakes when you smell them cooking, or SNIPPITY! SNAPPITY!

And don't forget "The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig"!