Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Gunniwolf

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!


Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy


Emmy said...

I love this story. My Grandma put together a booklet of stories she'd tell, and gave it to me when I was little. The Gunniwolf was included and I loved hearing my Mom read it to me at night. It was so great to come across your site and see it up.

Anonymous said...

I checked out Ghosts and Goblins from the library so many times, my name was the only one on the due date card! I love this book and will look for The Gunniwolf.


Anonymous said...

I realize this blog entry is a year old, but I just found it today. I adored The Gunniwolf when I was a little girl, especially the way my mother read it to me. "Hunker-cha! Hunker-cha!"

I wanted to let you know that the new edition is nowhere near as good. In the new illustrations, the Gunniwolf looks more like a big, friendly dog! He's not scary at all. Stick with the old edition, where he looks like a hyena.

virusghost18 said...

My fondest memory of first grade english as reading this tale over and over again from our text book. I need to buy this for my future kids and myself!!!

mommaloves7 said...

I was looking this book up after reading it today to my 5 and 2 1/2 yr old grandsons.I bought a discarded library copy for 10 cents 25 years ago and read it to all 7 of my children and now my 2 grandsons. It is always a top favorite. I've seen a couple of versions including the girl singing the alphabet bit none as charming as this one with it's slightly exotic location and mischievous Gunnywolf.

Unknown said...

This story is and always has meant so much to me. Some of the earliest memories were only Mother telling my sister and I this story. I was so young I don't remember a book ever existing because she acted out the parts. I was wondering can anyone tell me where this story originated? Who wrote it? Etc? I am now 54. And I share this story with all my grandchildren. They all beg me to tell the story almost every time I see any of them. It's a tradition now in my family.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...