Oh man…this is yet another one of those books I slap my forehead and think, “why didn’t I think of this??”
A WELL-MANNERED YOUNG WOLF is a slight and should be predictable (it’s not!!) and hilarious story about a young wolf with manners solidly intact. A HUNGRY, well-mannered young wolf with manners solidly intact. It was written by Jean Leroy and Matthieu Maudet.
When this unnamed wolf (I think Mort would be a good name) goes hunting for his very first time, he is ill prepared for his good manners and respect for tradition to give him trouble. His parents taught him that a “last wish” must always be respected. (This tradition seems weighted towards the receiver of the “last wish” rather than the deliverer of said. Especially in the predator and predatee* business.)
Nonetheless, as this well-mannered young wolf heads out to hunt (with a net, of course, because this is, after all, a kid’s book) for his very first time. He captures first a rabbit and then a chicken. He is bound to honor any last requests they have before he eats them. And this is what gets him in trouble. Or not necessarily in trouble but proves a wrench in his sweet, hunting gear work.
I alluded above how this story is not predictable. I was surprised and guffawed out loud when I got to the end. Guffawed, I tell you. This story is brilliantly told and wonderfully illustrated.
Maudet’s engaging characters and environments are simple but rich. Rendered in a flat, saturated pallet of yellow, brown, red and black, it feels like a book with an already long history. Like something I may have marveled as a child and simple enough that I might have tried to draw the characters myself.
I mean look at this wolf:
What is not to love about all of these?
This is a very entertaining book with a lesson in how having good manners can work against you and how lying can set you free how sharing good art can work in your favor. I think…
Go get this book!
*Yeah yeah, I know predatee is not a word, just go with it, okay?