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The Wolf Who Learned to Be Good Review by Amber Smith

Natalia Moore
Albert Whitman & Company Publishing

What if a big, bad, wolf really wanted to be good? He tried throwing a surprise party, but you can guess how the guests responded when he jumped out to yell SURPRISE! Everyone was always running away, leaving the wolf alone. He was tired of being lonely, but what can change a naughty wolf’s heart?

Can we talk about friendship for a moment?

That is what this beautifully illustrated picture book by Natalia Moore, is really about. I am sure you can think of a naughty little wolf or two in your life. How can we help them make friends? How can we help our children cope with a friend that is a little “wolf-y?” This book models the kindness it takes to build friendships and keep them.

Often as parents we can be embarrassed by our children’s naughty behavior. Playdates can be stressful and end differently than you might have hoped them to. Sometimes, it is exhausting. That is okay, too. All of the correcting and redirecting can make us think we should avoid playdates until our little one can control themselves better, but keep helping them. Keep showing up.

I had a wild little wolf myself. Little wolves are delightful, energetic and have enthusiasm to spare, but like the big bad wolf at the surprise party, all of that energy can be a bit too much! Playing together is where children (and little wolves) are learning important lessons about how to interact. The wolf learned that if he kept frightening the forest animals, he would keep feeling lonely. He sincerely wanted to make a friend.

What Helped Change Them?

Friendship. The wolf met a little girl in a pink beret, who was full of ideas. At first he wanted to eat her up, which was his natural inclination. After all, he was a big, bad, wolf, but the girl knew how to have fun. They did activities together. She cared about cheering him up. After a while, he forgot all about his plans to gobble her. Unfortunately, he did not forget to still behave like a wolf and he gobbled up her cookies instead. He was bossy and insisted she play only the games he chose.

Friendship is a great teacher. When our children love another child, they learn the value of compromise, sharing and kindness in a way we could never teach. With our own “little wolf,” we kept trying short dates, fun activities and patient families, until we found just the right kind of friend. She learned that sharing meant playing longer and kindness meant bonus outings.

Patience, willingness to say, “I am sorry,” and forgiveness are all things wolves and children learn from friendship. This isn’t just the story of a lonely big, bad, wolf. Because of the friendship of a little girl in a pink beret, now “In the lonely wood, there lives a wolf. A rather good wolf. A rather good wolf, who made a friend. A wolf who is good…most of the time.”

-Product review by Amber J. Smith, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2018