What's the Time, Mr. Wolf?
By Carol Jones
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Hardcover, 9780395958001, 32pp.)
Publication Date: September 1999
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Mr. Wolf salivates over his tasty-looking barnyard friends and plans an elaborate dinner party for them. When the farm animals ask, "What's the time, Mr. Wolf?" he sends them scurrying off to gather ingredients for a special meal. But will they be guests or the dinner itself? Readers will screech with delighted terror as they realize how the clever old wolf is involving the animals in their own demise . . . or is he? Charmingly detailed illustrations decorate this new peephole book from Carol Jones. Every other page gives the reader a glimpse of what comes next as Mr. Wolf plans a feast with a surprise main course.
Born and educated in England, Carol Jones now lives in Australia. She is a full-time author and illusrutor who has given new life to many old favorites.
Children will know from the start of the book that Mr. Wolf is up to no good. After all, if he's really just inviting his barnyard friends to dinner, why is he so focused on the "chubby legs" of the sheep or the "firm flanks" of the goat? Perhaps Rooster and his friends should think twice about getting the "cookery" books Mr. Wolf requests. Every two hours a new friend arrives, asks Mr. Wolf the time, and is instructed to get another item for the meal. The cheerful, well-detailed silliness of the illustrations will prevent even the smallest child from being scared, as Mr. Wolf enlists the help of his oblivious friends in preparing his "special dinner." Cleverly placed peepholes give kids a hint of what's coming up in the next illustration, and the final page shows that the animal guests weren't quite as clueless as they seemed. The chance to use a variety of barnyard voices and the humorous plot will make this a natural for reading aloud.