Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf, published in 1955, is the first book about Polly and her adventures with the Wolf who is determined to eat her. Catherine Storr originally wrote the stories to allay her daughter Polly’s fear of wolves. She then wrote a second book, Polly and the Wolf Again.
The Story: We first meet the Wolf when he knocks on Polly’s door and announces that he’s going to eat her. He is most surprised when Polly invites him in and feeds him to the point that he is too full to eat a little girl but he promises that he will return…
A year goes by before the Wolf comes back to visit Polly. His first plan to eat her involves climbing up to her bedroom window and in an echo of Jack and the Beanstalk he plants a bean. Many of the Wolf’s plans are based on events that take place in rhymes and fairy stories including Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and The Three Little Pigs. Reading the stories has reminded us of fairy stories that we have forgotten and also inspired us to read new fairy stories and the rhyme, Monday’s Child is Fair of Face. Some stories have scary elements but they are also full of humour, in one the Wolf tries out various disguises and my daughter laughs at the story where the Wolf is ‘invisible’!
Polly and the Wolf’s relationship develops throughout the book and by the final story Polly seems quite fond of him. In our favourite story she tries to help the Wolf escape from the zoo and in another chapter she doesn’t seem particularly worried when the Wolf locks her in his house. The chapters are not very long and we read the book quite quickly (there were several requests for ‘Just one more story Mum.’!). Marjorie-Ann Watts’ black and white illustrations complement the stories and show the Wolf putting his various plans into action but clever Polly outwits him every time!
Information about the author and the illustrator is included at the back of the book along with interesting facts about wolves, quizzes and a recipe for the chocolate cake that the wolf so enjoyed on his first visit to Polly’s house. You can also read the first chapter of Polly and the Wolf Again.
Age Range: 6 +
Author: Catherine Storr / Illustrator: Marjorie-Ann Watts
Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf is the eighth book that we have read for the 2015 Classics Challenge.