Woolf: Half Wolf, Half Sheep, All Heart

illus. by Patrick Latimer. 32p. Pavilion. Jun. 2018. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781843653400.
PreS-Gr 1—A wolf and sheep fall in love and have a baby. They name the baby Woolf. He looks and behaves in both a wolflike and sheeplike manner. One day he meets a pack of wolves. The wolves, noting that he looks different, ask him what he is. Woolf tells them he is a wolf and he is in disguise to go on a sheep hunt. That night, Woolf shears off all his fluff and pretends to be just another wolf. He enjoys himself, but he discovers that he doesn't like hiding his fluff and he doesn't like hunting rabbits. Woolf meets a flock of sheep and has a similar experience with the sheep. Feeling sad that he does not fit in, his parents find him crying. They explain to Woolf that he is both wolf and sheep and he can't ignore one for the other. The illustrations have a distinct flattened style using natural colors, forested skylines, and a minimalist's amount of detail. The author tackles complex themes—being different, not belonging, and self-acceptance—but perhaps with too much prose for young readers. The ending falls somewhat flat with the reference to Woolf making new friends with a horse fly, bullfrog, and catfish.
VERDICT This book that has heart and a good message, but is too simplistic to be effective.

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