307. “Badness for Beginners” A Little Wolf and Smellybreff Adventure by Ian Whybrow and Tony Ross

Mom and Dad Wolf try hard to raise their two sons big and bad like themselves. They teach them rhymes, like “Never Say Thank You”, promote burping and other misbehavior. The younger, Smellybreff is doing a great job being bad, but Little Wolf just doesn’t have it in him. He tries to put on an angry grin, and people think he smiles. Unlike his baby brother, who destroys a newly repaired bridge, throws up at a restaurant and makes a waitress trip. The parents are proud of Smelly and hope that Little will catch up on badness, until they fall into their own trap…

This is a really tricky story, isn’t it? Totally upside-down. A grown-up or a school age child can easily grasp the humor and filter the message but isn’t it too confusing for the little children, who are always told to do things right, say thank you and be nice to people? I decided to test it on our son. To my surprise he seemed totally into it. Of course, I couldn’t resist commenting as we were reading, that we should NOT follow the Wolf family practices,  but I think he had figured it out by himself.

Quite funny, smart and definitely different. Considering that our children like to do things the opposite way, perhaps a lesson on badness is indeed an effective way to teach them goodness.

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