Illustrated by Olivier Tallec
Enchanted Lion Books, 2009
$16.95, ages 4-8, 32 pages
When a little blue wolf starts hanging out at Big Wolf's tree, Big Wolf doesn't know what to think.
After all, this is Big Wolf's tree. It's always been that way.
What could a quiet little wolf be after? Will he try to show Big Wolf up?
As one day slips into the next and Little Wolf does nothing to eclipse Big Wolf, Big Wolf gets used to having him around, though he isn't particularly welcoming.
Then one day Little Wolf leaves the tree and Big Wolf's heart glows red through his fir. He realizes just how much Little Wolf has come to mean to him.
In this sweet, gently told story by France's Brun-Cosme and Tallec, two solitary creatures let their guards down and discover the joy of being with someone else.
When Big Wolf first sees Little Wolf walking toward his tree, he's just a dot in the distance, but as Little Wolf comes nearer, Big Wolf fears he'll shadow over him.
Once Big Wolf sees that Little Wolf is just a wisp of a wolf, only half his size, he feel more at ease and lets Little Wolf climb up all the way.
Neither wolf greets the other or looks at the other in a mean or suspicious way, though they watch each other with curiosity.
Still, Big Wolf feels uneasy about what Little Wolf's arrival could mean, even more so when Little Wolf stays the night. How presumptuous, he thinks.
Yet that night Big Wolf begins to soften just a little. When Little Wolf begins to shiver, Big Wolf pushes a tiny corner of his leaf blanket over to him.
In the morning when Big Wolf climbs his tree to do exercises, his first impulse is again to feel guarded. Will Little Wolf climb better than him?
But when he sees Little Wolf fall then try again, he forgets his caution and even collects a few more oranges that usual to share with him.
Then Big Wolf heads off down the hill for a walk. Every so often, he turns around to see if Little Wolf is still there and, when he sees that he is, he smiles.
But that evening as Big Wolf heads back to the hill, there's no sign of Little Wolf under his tree and he rushes up to it, only to confirm that he's gone.
For the first time ever, Big Wolf can't eat or sleep. He realizes that Little Wolf made a very big space in his heart and now he misses him terribly.
So Big Wolf does the only thing he can think of doing. He waits and watches for a sign of his return.
All through winter, Big Wolf paces in circles around his tree and thinks about what he will do if Little Wolf returns.
He won't be stingy with his leaf blanket, he'll gather as much fruit as Little Wolf can eat, he'll let Little Wolf climber higher than him and if Little Wolf grows bigger than Big Wolf, he won't mind.
But will Little Wolf ever come back?
So tenderly told and illustrated, this first in a series is a charmer that melts you inside.
Every time the wolves look at each other with lonely, tentative eyes, you want to slip into the scene, scooch them together and encourage them on.
(Don't miss the second book, Big Wolf and LIttle Wolf: The Little Leaf That Wouldn't Fall.)