Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Mr Wolf's Pancakes

In yesterday's sleepy haze I forgot that we'd also read Mr Wolf's Pancakes by Jan Fearnley, as is traditional for us on Shrove Tuesday. It's a lovely picture book, with lively images and an interesting plot. Mr Wolf has become good, and decides to make everybody pancakes. But nobody will help him. When he eventually struggles through and makes the pancakes, all of his friends come round, wanting to eat some. The first time I read it to A, and asked "What do you think happens next?", she said "Mr Wolf will eat all of the pancakes himself." This is a fair guess, given that's the plot of another story of which she was very fond, the Little Red Hen. However, there's a twist in the tale, which both A and C find hilarious.

It's a great book for talking about the way in which stories interlink with each other, and borrow elements, or make allusions to other stories. What do we expect a wolf to be like? Why do we think like that? What other stories does the wolf appear in? Why is it good to be surprised by a story? Why is good to have stories which are not surprising? Thinking about these things can lead to some interesting discussions about what stories are for.

I think this is why A loves Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes so much, and why I loved it too. It's interesting to be surprised by characters which behave diffrently from the way we expect, or to hear a familiar story turn out differently sometimes.

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