Wolves by Emily Gravett: A Postmodern Picture book for all ages

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Emily Gravett has been producing high quality picture books for the last few years. She is an award winning illustrator and author, her greatest work in my opinion is Wolves. It won the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration. The vast majority of readers dismiss all picture books as simple books designed to keep infants occupied for a few minutes. That is not the case .There is a lot of bad picture books on the market but if you take the time to read a good one by Maurice Sendak or Anthony Browne for example and appreciate them, it can be a wonderfully rewarding experience.

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Wolves is the story of a rabbit who goes to the library and borrows a book on wolves. As he reads the story on his way home, he becomes part of the story he is reading and is unknowingly stalked on by wolves. I love this book as it is an example of a postmodern picture books that has more than one meaning and the author acknowledges that the reader is actually reading the book an addresses them, giving an alternative ending even if they wish. There is also little pockets in the pages like a library stamp card that a child would love to play with. Gravett loves to play with the book itself as an object, she has done this with other titles such as Little Mouses Big Book of Fears and Again. It makes her books in particular stand out against the crowd.An example of this can be seen in the below picture.

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Gravett uses different kinds of paper textures and shades when compiling some of her latest books and this is evident here. The story itself is brilliant as we are unsure whether the rabbit is reading the story or is he becoming part of the story and is in grave danger. Adults will enjoy the narrative disruption and discontinuity in the text as it plods along, children loves to play with the actual book itself and to find out whether the rabbit is going to meet an untimely demise( There is two endings if you don’t like to see bunny rabbits coming to a gruesome end.) Her ability to make her books quirky with hidden slips, holes, and pop up pictures draw a lot of reluctant readers to pick up her books in the library from my experience with children.

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I hope to do a blog on some of Gravett’s other book’s. I love most of her books, Blue Chameleon and The Odd Egg are two of my favorites. Please comment and tell me what picture books you have been reading, I’d love to hear from you.

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