Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Badness For Beginners

Badness For Beginners

Ian Whybrow
Illustrator:  Tony Ross 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Lerner, 2005   ISBN: 978-1575058610

In a far away place, a family of wolves lives in a smelly lair. Mom Wolf and Dad Wolf are very good at being “BIG and BAD” and they are determined that their children, Little Wolf and Smellybreff, should follow in their paw prints.

To help their children to attain a proper degree of big and bad behavior, Mom and Dad Wolf teach their cubs nursery rhymes that encourage them to play with their food, to make rude noises, and to talk when their mouths were full. Smellybreff has no problem being bad, but his big brother sometimes does good things by accident.

One day Mom and Dad Wolf decide to teach their children more “about Badness,” and they take them to town so that they can demonstrate how it should be done. Dad Wolf scares off a crew of workers who are fixing a bridge and makes a real nuisance of himself. Little Wolf does try to be bad, but his effort is rather lukewarm. His little brother Smellybreff does a stellar job; he manages to make a hole in the bridge!

Next, the Wolf family goes to the café, and they proceed to cause as much chaos as possible. The problem is that they go a little too far, and their efforts to teach their children how to be bad backfire in an unfortunate and rather painful way.

Young children are sure to be amused by this picture book with its wolf characters who try so hard to be bad. The illustrations are funny, and the message is one that children are sure to find surprising. There really is a point when being bad actually ceases to be fun!