About the Holiday
Today we celebrate the long tradition of oral and written stories that have captivated both children and adults since earliest times. While many of the fairy tales we love began as lessons in good manners or avoiding danger, they have remained popular and a part of our culture that we pass down to children through the generations. These tales stand up to traditional treatments as well as variations that turn the familiar plots on their heads.
There’s a Wolf at the Door: Five Classic Tales
Retold by Zoë B. Alley | Illustrated by R.W. Alley
There are big books of fairy tales and then there’s There’s a Wolf at the Door! In this oversized graphic-novel style picture book, that big, bad wolf who is so familiar in children’s stories follows his nose and his hungry stomach through 5 classic tales.
In “The Three Little Pigs,” the wolf starts out with much confidence and bluster. He huffs and he puffs, but in the end he’s outsmarted by the third little pig. In quite a fright he follows the sign to “Greener Pastures” where he finds Barry, a shepherd boy with an unfortunate aversion to boredom. The wolf suddenly finds himself accused of eating sheep, but quickly realizes he can turn the boy’s foolish cries to his advantage. He doesn’t count on the crafty sheep, however, who thwart the wolf’s plans while their shepherd runs around in circles, screaming.
The wolf finds his escape on a path through the woods marked “To Granny’s House.” On the path he meets up with Rhonda, a fashionista who loves red clothing and appreciates her strange companion’s sense of style. While they walk toward Granny’s house together, discussing coats, hats, and flowers for Rhonda’s hair, the wolf gives Rhonda the slip and runs a frightened Granny out the back door. Rhonda scares him off with a well-aimed red shoe and a grab at Granny’s stolen nightgown. Not wanting to appear so naked, the wolf pulls the white wooly rug around his shoulders and hightails it to a peaceful meadow.
Here a family out for a picnic discovers him napping. The little girl mistakes him for a poodle, but her mother believes he is a sheep. When he tries to menace them with a display of fierceness, the unimpressed family simply calls him rude and wanders off to find another picnic spot. Who does he spy a short distance away, but Barry the shepherd and his sheep. Disguised under his rug, the wolf creeps up on the flock, who are not fooled. This time as Barry runs away, the sheep use his crook to toss the wolf around.
As the wolf catches his breath by the river, he receives a package from Rhonda, who has learned to be kind and considerate from her experience with the wolf. Inside, he discovers a new outfit, and he is once again restored to his dapper self. Hearing that the nearby house is full of unattended goslings, the wolf devises a plan to capture them and take them home for dinner. While these goslings may be rambunctious and disobedient to their brother Alphonse, when threatened they work together to foil their pesky visitor.
In the end the wolf decides that perhaps he’s better off as a vegetarian and readers leave him contemplating a shortcut through the woods to Farmer McGregor’s Garden.
Using clever inside jokes, humorous asides, sassy heroines and heroes, and a woebegone wolf out of his depth, the husband and wife team of Zoë B. Alley and R.W. Alley have transformed these well-known classics into unique, rib-tickling stories for a new generation. The comic strip style drawings fit the droll tone of the tales perfectly and are full of details kids will love to point out. While older children will enjoy reading this book on their own,There’s a Wolf at the Door also makes for an exciting read-aloud storytime.
Ages 4 – 8
Roaring Brook Press, 2008 | ISBN 978-1596432758
National Tell a Fairy Tale Day Activity
Treasure Box of Imagination
Whether it’s gold, silver, jewels, pirate loot, or just bits of nature or knick-knacks, our favorite things are our treasures and fuel our imaginations. For Fairy Tale Day make your own Treasure Box
- 1 small wooden box, available at craft stores
- Gold acrylic craft paint
- Craft gems
- Paint brush
- Hot glue gun or strong glue
- Paint your wooden box with the gold paint
- Let the box dry
- Decorate your Treasure Box of Imagination with gems