How would you feel if your mortal enemy showed up at a tea with you? That is just the dilemma faced by the three pigs, Little Red Riding Hood and a host of children's book characters in Judy Sierra's hilarious new offering for young readers.
Now living in the Villain Villa Senior Center, and faced with the challenges of living on a fixed income, B.B. Wolf is thrilled to see something besides bills (from damage to the Pigs' house and cleaning bills from Granny, for example) in his mailbox, especially after huffing and puffing his way there. What's this he sees? An invitation to tea from his local librarian? When his friend the crocodile warns him he will have to behave himself, B.B. Wolf is worried. But, thanks to the help of his friend, a handy etiquette book and a superb manners jingle, B.B. Wolf is ready for the big day . . . and the cookies.
Otto Siebold is a master at computer illustration. It's amazing that a modern tool can create such retro art. B.B. Wolf, clad in an orange and yellow plaid suit with striped pants, bifocals perched on his substantial nose, looks like any other grandfather, even while singing the tune that he invents to remember his manners. Experienced readers will recognized all the icons of children's books when B.B., complete with a scary wolfish shadow, strides into the library. Besides Goldilocks, Bo-Peep and the three pigs, careful eyes will spy Humpty Dumpty, the Gingerbread Man, the Little Engine (that could), Elmer the Elephant and a little mouse I can't quite name, but certainly have seen before. Siebold uses the familiar echoes of critters from the mass market books of the '60s, but jazzes them up with his signature style.
Listeners and readers will surely sing along with B.B.'s song, and maybe even learn a little bit about manners along the way. But mostly they will be smiling and guffawing every time they think about the explosive belch that spreads across a double-page spread. Excuuuse you, Mr. Wolf!