Sunday, May 3, 2020

Review - This Is the Path the Wolf Took

This Is the Path the Wolf Took
by Laura Farina
illustrated by Elina Ellis
Date: 2020
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 42
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

A boy's little sister doesn't like the way he improvises when he tells tales, in this funny and bighearted tale about what makes a story good. The stories Gabe "reads" to his little sister start out sounding familiar --- a red-caped girl on her way to Grandma's house meets a wolf in the woods --- but then, just in the nick of time, Sir Gabriel swoops in to save the day. His sister points out that's not how the story is supposed to go. The boy says his way is better: "Nothing bad happens in my story." But when his sister stops listening, the boy realizes he needs to reconsider. Are his stories boring? Why does it seem like there's always something missing? Laura Farina's funny and empathetic tale explores why a good story is never made up of only good things. Many young children want a story to be exciting, but they don't want anything scary or bad to happen. This picture book shows how a brief period of being afraid or sad is necessary to make a story worth hearing. It makes for a great discussion starter and works well for loads of language arts applications, including writing skills, elements of a story, and fairy tales or other literary genres. With its playful humor, endearing sibling relationship and high-energy illustrations by Elina Ellis, this book also makes an entertaining read-aloud.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I'm not sure why I didn't like this one more. Sometimes books just don't "click" with the reader.

Gabe is reading stories to his little sister, but he doesn't like for anything bad to happen, so he swoops in as Sir Gabriel to save the day. His sister eventually gets tired of listening to the stories (because she knows how they're supposed to go; even this toddler seems to realize that you can't have a great story without conflict) and Gabe finally gets the message that his stories are boring. So he allows a villainous wolf into his story... and manages to still have a happy ending.

Part of the problem here will be if kids aren't familiar with stories like "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Three Little Pigs". (I mean, they should be, but not everybody reads to their children, unfortunately, and younger kids especially might not understand how these particular stories usually go... and why Gabe's sister doesn't like the sanitized versions.)

The pictures are kind of cute, but the story just doesn't work for me. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.67 out of 5

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