Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews
wolfie and Fly
Illustrator: Zoe Si
For ages 6 to 8
Tundra Books, 2017 ISBN: 978-1101918203
Renata Wolfman is the kind of girl who likes to live her life her own way. She does not like shopping for clothes and so she wears the same outfit everyday: overalls and a white t-shirt. She thinks that friends are a nuisance and a waste of time, and so she does not have any friends. She happily spends her time alone reading books and making things. Being a lone wolf is the way she likes to be.
One day Renata’s parents go off to Uncle Bob’s retirement party. They tried to get Renata to go with them, but she refused to cooperate and so Renata stays home and she decides to turn an empty refrigerator box into a submarine. Making things is one of Renata’s favorite things to do and so she is not best pleased when the doorbell rings and her ‘work’ on her submarine is interrupted.
It turns out that the boy next door, Livingstone Flott, has got himself in trouble and he needs to lie low for a little while. If he doesn’t his big brother will break his guitar. Reluctantly Renata opens the door and Livingstone comes in. Renata learns that that kids at school have given her a nickname, Lone Wolf, which Livingstone has modified to “Wolfie.” He has a nickname too. He is known as Fly, because he buzzes around and annoys people. Livingstone likes the nickname because flies are survivors, which one assumes is how he sees himself.
Renata would like Fly to leave, but instead he checks out her submarine, which he thinks is amazing. Except that the machine needs boosters. Renata, or Wolfie, does not normally let anyone “interfere” with her projects, but she has to admit that Fly’s idea is a good one and so she lets him help her add boosters to the sub. Next he suggests getting supplies, which is another good idea. Then Fly asks when they are leaving. Apparently he expects Wolfie to take him with her when she goes on her maiden journey in the sub.
Wolfie reminds Fly that the sub is made out of cardboard and therefore cannot go anywhere. Of course Fly knows this; he plans on going on a pretend journey. Wolfie does not know how to pretend, and anyway she thinks pretending is childish and she would like to be alone again. The thing is that Fly is really good at persuading people to try new things and so, against her will, Wolfie tries pretending for the first time in her life. She never imagines that pretending can be a pretty intense experience. One could even say that it can be a life-changing event.
This delightful story is a wonderful celebration of the power of the imagination. It turns out that having, and using, ones imagination can make all kinds of wonderful things happen. It turns out that having an adventure in a big cardboard box submarine can even make a lone wolf decide that being alone isn’t always a good thing.