Author: Illustrator: Emily Gravett
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Published Date: 2005
Age Suitability: 4+ although my 2-year old loves it
Amazon Price: £4.79
Rabbit eagerly reads his borrowed library book about wolves as he travels across the pages only to have the wolves in question creeping along behind him resulting in two surprise endings to please all children.
***Who is Emily Gravett***
There is little doubt that Emily's parents, her father a printmaker and her mother an art teacher had a huge impact on Emily, and the career path she eventually chose. Before attending University, Gravett travelled across Britain with friends picking fruit for money or drawing pictures for tourists. After settling in West Wales with the partner Mik whom she met on her travels Emily decided she wanted a career that involved her talent and passion for drawing.
This brought Emily to study at Brighton University and in 2004, while working towards her final degree, she entered a book (Wolves) she had created some years earlier in the Macmillan Prize for Illustration competition. Wolves won the award and was picked up by Macmillan for publication and released early last year. It is now sold in five different countries.
In addition to the Macmillan Prize for Illustration, which launched her career, Gravett also won the Nestle Children's Book Prize Bronze Award last year, the CILIP Kate Greenway Award and critical acclaim for her first publication.
*Other books available by Emily Gravett*
Orange Pear Apple Bear
*Books to be published in 2007*
Monkey and Me
Little Mouse's Book of Fears
***What I thought of Wolves***
I knew I had to buy this book as soon as I saw it in Waterstones. I realise we are not supposed to judge a book by its cover (figuratively or literally) but the cover of this book stood out miles above the other books it shared a shelf with.
The cover was not a mass of child friendly colours and cartoon like drawings but a simple white background with a cute
Little beige rabbit sketched with a gentle stroke in the corner. I was instantly drawn to this little character and picked it up, tucked it under my arm and made my way to the till to buy it.
When I got home I read through the book and was very pleased with my purchase.
*What I liked about it*
This book has been put together with a great deal of care and consideration and it seems clear that Gravett (a mother herself) knows her audience.
The story is simple but witty. It follows a rabbit as it crosses the pages reading a book it has taken out of the library about Wolves. In it we hear descriptions of wolves; their habits and eventually what they eat (you can imagine what frame of mind this piece of juicy information puts the rabbit in). The language is very clever and entertaining making the factual information easy and enjoyable for the smaller readers to absorb.
Gravett very wisely created two endings for the story, which will appeal to all readers. There is a somewhat gory ending or a slightly gentler version for those who need a happy ending (think Vegetarian Wolves!) Both endings are very clever and superbly funny.
The sketches throughout the book are very simple, drawing the eye to the characters, firstly the adorable bunny and secondly to the terrifying and wild wolf he is reading about. The two characters are portrayed through entirely different styles with the rabbit being drawn in softer and complete lines and the wolf in more manic out of control scribbles to demonstrate his wildness.
What makes this book that bit more special is the extra bits that have been included to appeal to a younger reader. This book has not merely been written and illustrated. It has been given extra detail through big wolf bites taken out of pages, letters from the library that can be taken out of the envelope and read, and even a stamped library card which sits inside a pocket exactly as you would find in a book borrowed from your local library. This makes the story a more interactive reading experience allowing children to get more involved in the story. It is quite simply really good fun to read.
I cannot criticise this book at all however, some smaller children may find the limited pictures and the neutral tones are not exciting enough to keep them focused. Having said that there is so much included in this book to keep them hooked I would expect it is only the younger (2-3) children who may struggle.
This is a fantastic celebration of what a good children's book should be like. It is imaginative, exciting, adventurous, funny and highly interactive - a perfect bedtime story! I cannot wait to read more of her books and I hope others do as well.