The Wolf Who Cried Boy!

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The Wolf Who Cried Boy!
James O’Neill and Russell Ayto
Picture Corgi
I doubt there are many readers who aren’t familiar with the classic The Boy Who Cried Wolf story but what happens when someone turns the tale clean upside down? Well, in this instance, it’s something utterly delightful and funny to boot.
On opposite sides of a river live two communities – one human, the other, the forest dwelling wolves. Now these particular wolves, despite what the human elders have told their children …

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are soft, fun-loving friendly creatures. However, they do live in fear of those across the water. Hmm!
Let’s focus now on one of their number, a very small wolf cub who has some very big ideas (and very mistaken) about himself for indeed he is an extremely fearful little fellow, not brave at all and given to crying “Boy” at the slightest shadow shape, rustle of a bush or hint of a breeze. So frequent were his cries that soon nobody took the slightest scrap of notice.
Now one particular sunny morning this cub decides to take a cooling dip in the river and what should he spy but a scruffily clad, sticky faced …

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This particular little lad had much in common with the cub in that he was wont to cry out at the slightest rattle of a bin lid, moo from a cow or waft of the wind. Naturally nobody took heed – well you know that part of old.
Their face-to-face encounter results in a torrent of outpourings …

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all rather protracted and exhausting too. And totally ignored by both humans and wolves thus leaving the two infants to frolic the afternoon away together until …

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It looked as if their fun was over.

So hereafter, is it to be a case of never the twain shall meet or could there be other possibilities?
James O’Neill’s background in comic drama is evident in his droll telling of this head-on collision between two worlds; and combined with Russell Ayto’s priceless comic-strip style rendering of same, the result is picture book theatre of the first order. Read into it what you will …

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