Winston the Book Wolf

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Winston the Book Wolf by Marni McGee, Illustrated by Ian Beck, book reviewWinston the Book Wolf is a fabulous book for any small book loving children out there. It is written by Marni McGee and illustrated by Ian Beck and tells the tale of a much misunderstood wolf who truly loves books. The only problem is that rather than reading them he tends to want to eat them – that is until one little girl shows him the error of his ways!

The wolf in question is called Winston and at the start of the story we see him attempting to enter the local library past the ‘No Wolves Allowed’ sign that he actually eats in the process. However he does not get far though before a rather fierce looking librarian stops him! As Winston tries to escape her clutches and many other people join in the chase, mayhem erupts. Finally a little girl called Rosie (wearing a red hooded jacket) appears and tells the wolf to follow her.

They head out into the countryside and when they eventually stop Rosie demands to know why Winston insists on eating all the books! He replies that he has to eat them because words are so delicious and taste even better than roasted skunk or gopher stew! He seems totally desperate for his books:

‘Winston began to howl.
“I’ll starve” he wailed.
“I’ll die without words!”’

Rosie then starts to explain patiently that he really does not have to live without words but that they are far better to be read than eaten. She then proceeds to teach him how to read while some of her friends – three little pigs and a rather old lady – look on! What happens next once Winston has learned to read is just fabulous and if you enjoy words you will really enjoy these pages along with your child so I am just going to quote again from the story:

The hungry wolf ate all sorts of words –
Sweet and juicy words like sunset and swoosh and rambunctious
He wolfed down words like trickle, ickle and twice
To him they tasted like clean, spring rain.
His favourite words rhymed with crunch – punch, munch and lunch.

I think this description of Winston’s enjoyment of words is pretty near perfect and it is even better when you see all these words on the page as they curl, swirl and jump out at you in very ingenious ways!

Anyway I have been digressing so I will just round up the story, which is really very clever. Soon Winston runs out of Rosie’s books so he needs to go to the library to get more but he knows that the librarian will not let him in – after all she doesn’t know that he’s a reformed character! Luckily Rosie comes up with a very cunning plan and before long a rather dear old lady can be seen entering the library where she readily reads stories to all the small children. If anyone notices her sharp teeth and her hairy hands, they never mention it – especially not to the librarian!

As you can tell I really loved this book – and more to the point (as it was more aimed at them) so did my daughters. It’s a great little story that is witty and amusing but more importantly it encourages a love of words and reading. The wolf is a great character and the girls love the way he talks about eating the words. The language used and the ideas are very accessible to small children making this the sort of book that they will want to read time and again.

The story is well backed up by some great illustrations that have lots of funny things going on. I think it is also quite clever to include the characters that the wolf will have supposedly eaten in the illustrations too and to include them in helping get Winston back into the library.

Overall this is a fabulous book with a great twist that I am sure that children will love.

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Winston the Book Wolf
by Marni McGee and Ian Beck

2 Comments on "Winston the Book Wolf"

  1. Marni McGee
    07/12/2010 at 01:54 Permalink

    My goodness — what a marvelous review!
    Thanks so much for your delicious words. To me, they “taste better than roasted skunk, even better than gopher stew!”
    Very truly yours,
    Marni McGee . . . and Winston the Book Wolf

  2. Luci
    07/12/2010 at 10:12 Permalink

    We have this out of the library (I’ve renewed it a few times) and it’s a really fun story.

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Written by kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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