Wolf and Bear


Deep within the shadows, Bear hears Wolf’s ‘sorrows’ sung ‘to a big, bright moon‘. It seems that Bear’s shadow has led him to reject all of Wolf’s appeals to play, ‘to tumble in the yummy berry bushes‘, to ‘skate!-/-skid!/- slide!- make blizzards of glittering snowflakes‘. In fact Bear’s shadow hangs heavy upon him ‘like a cloak‘. However, could it be that Wolf’s song calls to him? Might it be that he can touch the light that is promised?

The way that Kate Rolfe plays with dark and light, movement, and weight in her illustrations is astonishing. Then again, the language she uses, the word play contrast between heavy monosyllables and diamanté lit hope, is so aware.

Altogether, Wolf and Bear, a picture book of empathy and friendship, around sorrow and darkness, love and understanding, is quite wonderful. Bookwagon loves and recommends this beautiful, beautiful book.

Shortlisted, World Illustration Awards; Children’s Publishing; Runner-up The Batsford Prize for Illustration; Award winner, Macmillan Prize for Illustration





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Wolf and Bear

Kate Rolfe

(Two Hoots)

During their friendship, Wolf and Bear ‘played together in the falling leaves,/ and paddled in the stream‘. However Bear’s beset with ‘a great heaviness‘ on occasion. It seems to move with the seasons. It feels as though the ‘shadow of the mountain’ draws him away. Will Wolf’s gifts help? Or might it be that removing himself from the shadow will improve Bear’s feeling? What about catching leaves or splashing in the stream? Then again, what about a ‘tumble in the yummy berry bushes’?
It seems that Wolf’s enthusiasm for breaking Bear’s shadow might work to ill effect. Just look at Kate Rolfe‘s knowing illustrative interpretation of Bear’s feelings… what strength and insight! Look at the way the tones and colours represent feelings and season, character and movement?
Then again, will Bear’s reactions repel his friend, or might they produce a responsive sorrow that penetrate Bear’s black hole? It seems that Wolf’s song is heard deep within the cave of blackness. Thereafter, how will Wolf feel at seeing her friend anew? Could it be a case of understanding Bear’s ‘cloak of sorrow‘ after all?
Like Me and My Fear, for example, Wolf and Bear is an empathetic, deliberate and aware interpretation of grief and sadness. Bookwagon is awed by the majesty and love shown through this picture book. We recommend it for every classroom, every library. What a tour-de-force.


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