Debi Gliori is a well known children's author whose books are a complete delight to read, and beautifully illustrated throughout. "What's The Time, Mr. Wolf?" is no exception, with hidden treasures throughout.
I like reading books (as an adult) which draw on the familiar, hint at comparisons and provide little giggles as I find they help to draw the reader in and say, "Hey, we know you get the reference and the joke too! We put it there, just for you, you know?" In this very clever book, Gliori does that for both children and adults.
Using the premis of the traditional playground game, it introduces the reader to Mr. Wolf's day, highlighting what he's doing at various times throughout it. On every page there is a clock (a mixture of digital and analogue, including a sundial are used throughout) and the text starts with 'It is …. o'clock'; this helps introduce children to the concept of passing time, how it looks written down, and how to read clocks (very similar to first reading books where sentence patterns are repeated).
More tradition appears throughout the book as the other characters in it are all from popular rhymes; The Three ears, Little Bo Peep, Three Blind Mice and Humpty Dumpty to name but a few. Every time they appear, they are doing something associated with the rhyme that they belong to. The Boy knows quite a few of them but I have tended to keep the more macabre Grimm's Tales away from him so far, however I got the reference and it made me chuckle. Saying that, there is nothing even vaguely gruesome in this book, just wholesome goodness.
Mr. Wolf's day doesn't start out very well but it ends a whole lot better in a riot of colour.
I really like this book because of the appeal to both children and adults. It's funny, non-patronishing, colourful and very cleverly drawn with visual references to tradition throughout. It's one of those books that I'd now buy for a friend's child because it's so enjoyable.
"What's The Time, Mr. Wolf?" is available from Bloomsbury Children's Books in both paperback (£6.29) and hardback (£9.89).
We were sent this book for the purpose of this review. My opinion is honest and unbiased.