Additional Book Information
Series: The New York Review Children's Collection
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
The Complete Polly and the Wolf
by Catherine Storr, illustrated by Marjorie Ann Watts and Jill Bennett
When Catherine Storr’s daughter was very small, she was afraid of the wolf under her bed, so every night her mother would tell her a story in which Polly outwitted the wolf. These bedtime stories eventually became the collection Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf, a wonderfully thrilling and reassuring series of adventures in which the clever, independent, and unstoppable Polly fools the persistent, hungry young wolf time and again. In a match much like Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner but more polite and quick-witted, Polly and the wolf develop ever-more complicated ways of turning the tables on each other as they grow older and, in Polly’s case at least, wiser. Three more collections of stories followed the original Clever Polly, all hilariously inventive variations on a much loved theme, and all of the stories are collected here for the first time.
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The stories...empower girls and underdogs, and extol brains over brawn.
—Martha V. Parravano
I can’t think of much children’s literature that offers as much simultaneous pleasure to parent and child as the Polly and the wolf stories. Rereading them, I marveled, roared with laughter, was moved by the wolf’s eternal hopefulness. The stories are also exceptionally well-written. What’s more, they provide the comforting lesson that calm intelligence will triumph over silly rapaciousness every time. It’s no exaggeration to say that Storr’s wolf is one of my favorite characters in all of fiction.
This agility in the storytelling keeps the book from being just frightening, just comic, or just a cautionary tale. . . 60 years later it still reads like a feminist reworking of Little Red Riding Hood. There are no weak little girls here, and no dotty old ladies either.
—Emma Healey, The Guardian
Here’s hoping the New York Review’s incarnation encourages a new generation to discover the plucky, mid-century heroine who relies on her own cunning and resourcefulness not to become the Wolf’s dinner…Drawings by Marjorie Ann Watts and Jill Bennett are as delightful and whimsical as the tales they illustrate.
It is an extremely good book, but one that was rather forgotten - in the last 10 or 15 years it had more or less disappeared from view. When we made it our book of the month and gave it a prominent place in all the shops, parents and grandparents remembered it and bought it.
—James Daunt, chief executive of Waterstones, UK
With its charming black and white illustrations of a little girl with pigtails and knee socks, it is a throwback to another age. Yet the story of a resourceful child who outwits a wolf has flown to the top of the children's best-seller list at Waterstones [UK], out-selling popular adult titles including Paula Hawkins' hit thriller The Girl On The Train.
—Anita Singh, The Telegraph (UK)