Review: Lone Wolf

Summary

Maple loves being the Parker’s family dog, but she continues to encounter people who think she must be a wolf. She always thought of herself as a dog, but she starts to question her identity as a dog and tries being a wolf for a day to see if it fits. After failing at her wolf activities in the wild, she realizes she isn’t a wolf at all and returns to her life with the Parkers more confident about who she is.

 

Review

Lone Wolf by Sarah Kurpiel is an empowering story about discovering yourself and not letting others define you. Children may be able to map their own experiences of not quite fitting into the definitions or expectations of others onto Maple’s experience of repeatedly being told she must be a wolf and may be inspired by her self-discovery to feel more confident in being themselves and finding their ‘pack’. With only a few sentences on each page and a nice cadence, the story lends itself to reading aloud quite well. The illustrations are charming and make use of dotted lines to show movement and bring extra energy to the story. They are large enough to be seen from a distance, but there are also plenty of details to be enjoyed close-up. Avery, one of the children in the Parker family, is illustrated to use a power wheelchair and is a nice addition to help normalize disability for children. 

About the Author-Illustrator

Sarah Kurpiel is a librarian and artist living in Illinois. She uses a power wheelchair and considers her disability to be an important part of her identity. 

Helpful Links

May 19 – It’s National Pet Month and Interview with Sarah Kurpiel – Celebrate Picture Books

Book Details

Title: Lone Wolf

Author-Illustrator: Sarah Kurpiel

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Year Published: 2020

ISBN: 9780062943828

Review: The Peanut Fart

Summary

Shelton the snail usually eats green vegetables, but one day he eats a peanut and lets out a peanut-shaped fart. All of the snails laugh at Shelton as the fart follows him around, so he captures the fart in a bottle and pushes it down the river — only to begin worrying about its well-being and going on his own adventure to track it down.

Review

The Peanut Fart by Xiaoming Wang is a rare picture book that is both laugh-out-loud funny and thoughtful (and surprisingly emotional for a book about farts!) It is a great title for English readers, Mandarin learners, or fluent Mandarin readers, as it has both Simplified Chinese characters and pinyin (text that helps translate Chinese sounds into a Latin alphabet) side-by-side throughout the story and an English translation in the back pages with miniature illustrations. The coloured pencil illustrations are cute, expressive, and can be seen from a distance for larger groups — but there is enough happening in each image that readers will want a closer look. This book is an overwhelming joy from start to finish and a great addition to any collection of picture books in translation.

About the Author-Illustrator

Xiaoming Wang is the creator of numerous award-winning picture books.

About the Translator 

Adam Lanphier grew up in Washington, D.C., lived in Beijing from 2005 until 2008, and currently lives in New York City. 

Book Details

Title: The Peanut Fart 

Author-Illustrator: Xiaoming Wang

Translator: Adam Lanphier

Publisher: Paper Republic LLC, by arrangement with Jieli Publishing House Co. Ltd.

Year Published: 2016 (English translation), originally published 2013

ISBN: 9781945295034