Wilhelmina Harper ~ William Wiesner ~ E.P. Dutton, 1967
Sure to scare even the most adventurous child away from forbidden temptations, The Gunniwolf is a great tale full of intrigue and edge-of-your-seat excitement. After her mother warns her repeatedly not to go near the jungle, where does the Little Girl head as soon as her mom is out of sight? The jungle, of course. And who is waiting, nay, lurking for her beyond the white and pink and orange flowers? You guessed it, the Gunniwolf.
He said, "Little Girl, why for you move?"
Trembling she answered, "I no move."
The Gunniwolf said, "Then you sing that guten sweeten song again!"
So she sang: "Kum-kwa, khi-wa, kum-kwa, khi-wa" and then--the old Gunniwolf nodded his head and fell fast asleep.
In the same repeating action, the Little Girl is able to lull the wolf to sleep and escape further out of the jungle until he catches up with her and the same scene is repeated. Each time, the Little Girl sings the wonderful tune, then "pit-pat, pit-pat, pit-pat, pit-pat" she goes back through the jungle again. The simple rhythm of the words is poetic, and the illustrations of the large, sly beast friendly, yet menacing enough so you are unsure whether he is friend or foe.
This book is currently in print with new illustrations, but I haven't had a chance to check it out yet. Neither have I seen the other book these two did together, Ghosts and Goblins: Stories for Halloween, but I'm off now to look it up on the library database!
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