Review: Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra and J. otto Seibold
by Judy Sierra (Author), J. otto Seibold (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 5-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (August 24, 2010)
Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? No one, these days.
The tale of the Three Little Pigs has been twisted, turned and fractured so much in recent picture books, it’s a wonder anyone can even remember what actually happened. In Tell the Truth, B.B.Wolf folklorist Judy Sierra chooses this classic bully for her tale about the importance of honesty and remorse. Her 2007 book, Mind Your Manners, B.B.Wolf, had Big Bad at the library minding his P’s and Q’s. In this new book, the librarian has once again invited B.B.Wolf to the library. This time it is to tell the tale of how he met the three little pigs.
Now an older, gentler wolf, he has put aside his wicked ways and retired to Villain Villa. Full of regret and surprisingly longing to be a hero, his friends at the retirement home convince him to put a spin on the truth—give the Three Little Pigs tale a happy ending. But B.B. can’t hide behind his snazzy suit or newly acquired manners for long. The savvy crowd at story time are unwilling to let B.B. sugar coat his story. Pinocchio, the Ginger Bread Baby and Humpty Dumpty all seemed to have learned their lessons. Besides, there are three little pigs in the audience who keep interrupting his re-write with a chorus of “Tell the truth, B.B.Wolf!” And, with much trotter stomping, the pigs demand an apology. The wolf’s huff and puff have faded to a wheeze and a gasp. There’s only one way out and in the end Big Bad sings his sorry, rights his wrong and even changes his middle name. Having come clean, the re-invented wolf is last seen driving off in a bright red truck with his chums, in a new renovation venture.
J. otto Siebold uses his zany computer generated art to stylize a collection of familiar fairy tale critters. Adults will enjoy the puns and amusing detail in Seibold’s depiction. While the book is aimed at 5-8 year-olds, an older child may better enjoy the humor and truly get the lesson. The author, Judy Sierra, comes from a family of book lovers, with a past career as a librarian and children’s entertainer. Her books are written to be dramatized and read aloud. So dust off those vocal chords parents—B.B. loves to sing his lines—especially the blues. With its large bold text, this book is bound to be popular at library and school story times.
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