Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Wilfrid Lupano
Illustrator: Mayana Itoïz
Publisher: Graphic Universe
The Wolf in Underpants chronicles the misfortune of a small woodland village blighted by a menacing wolf. But is the wolf really that bad? The village animals all seem to think so as they swap tales and cultivate a sole industry of protecting themselves from the aforementioned foe. But all that changes when they suddenly come face to face with the wily wolf himself! Fear changes to understanding as the wolf describes his seemingly threatening past behavior as merely symptoms of a chilly backside. Fortunately, a pair of cozy woolen underpants knitted by a kindly old lady recently remedied the problem. The only question remaining is what are the villagers supposed to do now?
Set in a style verging on that of graphic novels, The Wolf in Underpants is chock full of detailed hand-drawn, colored pencil illustrations depicting a thriving forest community with expressive characters left and right. However, the book’s central messages advocating for verifying the facts before casting judgment and giving others the benefit of the doubt are accompanied by humor that seems more geared towards older children and adults than young children. It is a dry humor devoid of the usual slapstick that preschool audiences tend to enjoy. The story line seems a bit flat as not much happens (the scene is set, the conversation with the wolf takes place, and the community adjusts their interests accordingly), but since it is a translation, some of the book’s richness and nuance may have been lost from the original French telling. This book would perhaps be best suited to a primary aged reader.