July 5, 2006

DT Bizarre Book Contest: Bridget and the Gray Wolves

bridget_gray_wolves.JPGTitle: Bridget and the Gray Wolves
Author/Illustrator: Pija Lindenbaum
Reviewed by: Naomi

Lately, our two year old has been asking us to tell her stories, and we have been obliging with off the cuff renditions of Goldilocks and Red Riding Hood. I had never really thought about those old stories in-depth, but it occurred to me that none of the drama would have happened if those little girls hadn't been out playing alone in the woods.

My husband, who grew up in semi-rural West Virginia, says that I am too cynical for thinking that way. He spent his childhood running loose through fields and hills and never once lost an eye or a limb. I am more comfortable indoors and always have been, the product of a Japanese mother who only begrudgingly let me learn to swim and is positive her only grandchild will die if she is outside for more than an hour at a time.

"Bridget and the Gray Wolves" reminds me that I am probably turning into my mother. Bridget is a preschool misfit because she is a scaredy cat who doesn't like to roughhouse or get dirty like most kids do. One day, her daycare group takes a nature walk and Bridget manages to get lost in the woods, where she encounters a pack of wolves. Surprisingly, Bridget who is "afraid of most things" is not at all worried about the creatures. Or maybe it's just that her toddler peers are more frightening? In the process of making the wolves play on her terms (BOSSY!), Bridget learns that she is capable of anything and when she eventually returns to civilization, she is much more inclined to try new things. So good resolution, self-esteem is bolstered, etc. But it's still basically about a girl who gets lost during day care, which is
pretty frickin' scary.

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