Into the Forest Again! Ferocious Wild Beasts by Chris Wormell
A bear was strolling in the forest one day....when he met a small boy, sitting on a tree stump, looking rather sad.
"What's the matter?" asked the bear.
"I'm lost!" sniffed the boy, "and I am in terrible trouble."
"Tell me why that is," inquired the bear.
"Because my mom said I must never go into the forest," replied the boy, "but I did, and now I'm lost!"
"Don't worry," said the bear with a laugh. "I'll soon show you the way out. The forest isn't so bad, you know."
"It IS!" declared the boy. "My mom says the forest is full of ferocious wild beasts."
Mom's advice is maybe a bit over the top, but in this case she is RIGHT! This forest is full of beasts. The boy in short order meets up with a bear, an elephant, a lion, a wolf, a python, and a crocodile--all potentially ferocious wild beasts indeed. Curiously, though, although the boy quotes his mom's apt description to each one, the forest beasts don't seem to recognize themselves. Here's the boy's conversation as he encounters the elephant:
"Have a snack?" said the elephant. "Would anyone like a banana?"
"You'd better watch out, Elephant," advised the bear. "This young man tells me there are ferocious wild beasts on the loose."
"Oh, dear!" said the elephant, dropping his banana. "Are they very wild?"
"The wildest beasts EVER!" said the boy. "They're so big they could step on you and squash you just like that!"
"But, er...they couldn't squash an elephant, could they?"
"Easily," replied the boy.
"Oh, CRUMBS!" gulped the elephant. "You wouldn't mind if I tag along with you, would you?"
One by one, the lion, wolf, python, and crocodile hear themselves described graphically by the boy and one by one the wild animals cast furtive glances among the darkening trees and seek safety in numbers. "The nighttime is when the ferocious wild beasts come out to hunt," points out the boy, rather proud of his special knowledge.
But then the wanderers hear a sound, one capable of striking fear into the hearts of any earthly creature. The animals flee, but the brave boy stands his ground:
It was not a ferocious, wild beast at all. It was something MUCH worse!
It was a wild, ferocious MOM!
With clever echoes of hunting heffalumps with Winnie the Pooh and a sly nod to Where the Wild Things Are, outstanding artist Chris Wormell's beautifully illustrated and wryly told latest, Ferocious Wild Beasts! (Knopf, 2009), with its humorous touches of British irony and lovely watercolored pictures, is sure to elicit appreciative chuckles from young readers and story time listeners. A real winner, this one is.