Picture Book Roundup – Verdi and Big Wolf & Little Wolf

Another Saturday, another trip to the kids’ section of the library.  That whole area of the library is like a diamond mine! So many explored treasures to discover!

Title: Verdi by Janell Cannon

Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Company

I could not resist the cover of this book.  Verdi is curled up in a looping coil, staring intently at library patrons.  How could I ignore that face?  His steady gaze intrigued me.  What is this book about?  I had to know!

First off, let me preface with this review with a little information about myself.  I like snakes.  A lot.  I used to go hiking through the fields near our house when I was a kid to catch them.  I always let them go, but I was fascinated by reptiles.  Their smooth skin and fluid way of moving captivated me.  They can move so fast, too!  In case you are wondering, I feel the same way about frogs, toad, and turtles.  They are cool!

Verdi is a young snake who doesn’t want to grow up.  Growing up means turning from his fetching yellow color to a plain, boring green.  Old snakes just lounge lazily about, complaining about the difficulties of digestion.  Ugh!  Being fat and lazy was not for him!

I loved the message of this book.  Try as he might, Verdi just can’t stop the changes that are taking place within him.  He is changing from his beautiful, bold yellow to a dreadfully dull green, and it doesn’t matter how much he races around the jungle or how high he climbs in the trees.  Physical change is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean that he has to change on the inside.

The illustrations are lush and detailed.  I loved them!  The book is attractively put together, and every page is a visual delight.  In addition to the full color artwork, there are also smaller, delicately detailed drawings throughout Verdi’s adventure.  This is an older book, but it is worth tracking down.

Grade: A-

Title: Big Wolf & Little Wolf by Nadine Brun-Cosme & Olivier Tallec

Published by Enchanted Lion Books

Oh, gosh, this one almost made me cry.  Seriously!  I was attracted to it because of the title, and the odd creatures on the cover made me look at them more than once.  These are wolves?  They are the oddest wolves I have ever seen!  Convinced, I needed to see what their deal was.

This is a heart-warming story about a loner, Big Wolf, and the little guy who makes him realize that life is a lot more satisfying if you have a friend to share it with.  Little Wolf just appears one day, quite out of the blue, and he starts following Big Wolf around.  Everything that Big Wolf does, Little Wolf tries to do, too.  Then, just as Big Wolf is starting to get used to him being around, the little blue wolf disappears, making Big Wolf realize how empty his life is without him. 

The art is a little odd and very stylized.  I enjoyed the big, boldly colored pages, and found the wolves very expressive, even though they don’t have much detail or definition to their faces or forms.

There is another book about Big Wolf & Little Wolf, and I must track it down. My library network does not have it in the collection. Boo!  I highly recommend that you track them down, too!

Grade: A

Review copies obtained from my local library