I love a fractured fairy tale. I have amassed quite the collection from Bethan Woollvin’s amazing Little Red and Rapunzel to Toby Forward’s The Wolf Story and Anthony Browne’s Hansel and Gretel. So many of my favourites are actually adaptations of Little Red Riding Hood and The Last Wolf by Mini Grey is now added to that esteemed list. Although, where many of the fractured tales take the original story and appropriate the plot or characters, The Last Wolf has a bigger story to tell with an environmental message about the state of the world’s endangered wildlife.
Mini Grey is a great storyteller who writes quirky characters and beautifully descriptive language. Her Little Red is a brave huntress who sets out with a popgun to find a wolf of her own. There are no baskets of muffins for this Little Red. She is the hunter is this version of the story and although she is painted as a strong, powerful female, she also has a empathetic side that young readers will fall in love with.
WITH LITTLE READERS:
Brilliant for looking at the language- a perfect text for exploring descriptive verbs and prepositions. I fell in love with the language, the moment I picked it up in the book store.
She slithered through the bracken and pounced…There were whooling noises and grabby twigs.
How gorgeous is that? Have younger students use the verbs to act out scenes as Little Red. Encourage their use in the children’s own writing.
With older students, it would be another great text to use when studying the textual concept of Point of View or when looking at appropriation. The students could choose their own fairytale to appropriate with a sustainability slant. On her blog, Mini Grey talks about the research she took into the forests near her home where wolves once roamed. Have a look on her website to share the research with your students. This would be a great jumping off point to encourage the students to look up extinct or endangered species from their own local areas.
There’s so much great visual literacy to look out for in the book also. Lots of cute little nods to fairy tales past and allusions to a whole cast of wolves. The illustrations are bright and vibrant and cheeky and the visual layouts will make for great discussion.
The Last Wolf is must for any kids book library. It’s shot to the top of my favourites of 2018 list! Get thee to a book store now.