1. Wolf, Chicken, Farmer, Opinionated Son

    Wolf Story by William McCleery. First published in 1947 and resurrected by the New York Review children’s collection, this ridiculously charming book is about a wolf, and a chicken, and a farmer, but really it’s about an exasperated, loving father in midcentury New York telling his very opinionated son a story.

    —Dan Kois in Slate chose Wolf Story as one of his “15 Favorite Books of 2012." We think the page above shows how narrative should work.

  2. New Books for Kids! New Sale on Kids’ Books!

    Hey, Waldo did you hear that we were offering a bunch of books in our kids’ series at a special discount?

    No, seriously, your fans can buy Wolf Story at 30% off the retail price. And by the way, Waldo, have you listened to your old friend Mike talk on NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered about how his father, William McCleery wrote Wolf Story for him all those years ago? Go on, it might cheer you up.

    Ogdon! You seem to know all about this sale already. Can we ask how you’re feeling about your book, written by Rhoda Levine and illustrated by Edward Gorey, being available again?

    Excellent. The only thing that better would be if that giant dog in your back yard gave up the secret of his name—but he’s not talking.

    So all that remains is for everyone to spread the word. Cheerful, it looks like you’ve already started talking to some real chatty types. Nice work!

    Now on sale at 30% off the retail price (but not on sale forever):

  3. Wolf Story in the news

    Lots of attention for Wolf Story, written by William McCleery with illustrations by Warren Chappell, in the media this weekend. First up is an interview with Michael McCleery, William’s son and the basis for the character of Michael, on NPR’s Weekend Edition. Not only will you hear Michael read aloud from the book written for and based on him, but you’ll also learn that it was written during a “quickie divorce” in Reno in 1947. How the best children’s books are made!  And the book was also reviewed in The Wall Street Journal: an excerpt of the review is below.

    What sings, though, is the lively dialogue in the story by William McCleery (1911-2000) as a 5-year-old boy inveigles his weary father to contrive yet another bedtime story involving a ferocious wolf. The man tries to avoid this, suggesting other animals and peaceable attributes, but only a fierce wolf will do.

    'All right,' the father says, 'a terribly fierce wolf with red eyes and teeth as long and sharp as butcher knives.'
    'Mmmmmmm,' says the boy, resting his cheek on his pillow.
    'I suppose you like that about the butcher knives.'
    'I love it,' says the boy. 'Go on.'

    What follows is a collaborative tale improvised over the course of days, in which Waldo the wolf kidnaps Rainbow the hen and meets trouble in the form of Rainbow’s owners, the wisecracking Tractorwheel family. First published in 1947, Wolf Story is a romp and a laugh and a nostalgic joy to read aloud.

  4. “All stories are about wolves. All worth repeating, that is. Anything else is sentimental drivel.”

    — 

    Margaret Atwood blurbed Wolf Story—and she probably doesn’t even realize it (from The Blind Assassin). Illustration above by Warren Chappell.