BooksForKidsBlog

Friday, April 22, 2016

Channeling Mowgli?: Wild Child by Steven Salerno

THE JUNGLE CAN BE A SCARY PLACE.

BUT THEN A NEW KIND OF CREATURE ARRIVED.

IT WASN'T THE BIGGEST OR STRONGEST.

IT DIDN'T HAVE SHARP TEETH OR CLAWS.

IN FACT IT WAS QUITE SMALL, WITH ONLY TWO TINY TEETH.

But... the Wild Child is the terror of the tropics!

It pinches and pulls. It hits and howls. It kicks and cries.

It BITES.

What to do with this little two-legs? The animals of the jungle do what they know works for them. The giraffe offers lunch--a bunch of fresh leaves from the top of the tree. The Wild Child spits them out. The Elephant gives the Wild Child a cool shower. The Wild Child wails. The Anteater shows him a juicy anthill, Hippo tries a mud bath, and Lion warms up his loudest roar.

THE WILD CHILD JUST GOT WILDER.

Then Gorilla gives it a try. She feeds it a banana. She wipes off the mud. And then she sat quietly with the Wild Child snuggled in her lap.

THE WILD CHILD STOPPED HOWLING."

THEN IT TOOK A NAP.

THE WILD CHILD WAS NOW A MILD CHILD.

Steven Salerno's Wild Child (Abrams Books, 2015) takes a new look at the Tarzan trope while poking a little fun at the way an unhappy baby can turn a household into wild scene. It's "Move over, Mowgli!" in a  clever spoof of the premise of The Jungle Book in which a new wild child comes to town. Salerno's illustrative pages are appropriately wild, done is black crayon scribbles and slashes and with the wild animals running amok, chomping, roaring, beating chests and displaying their might, and the angry baby putting all their wildness to shame. Kids will giggle as the baby romps and stomps and rules the roost, until Salerno calms the scene as a little gentle parenting soothes the inner wild child in us all.

"A two-toothed toddler needs no wolf suit to be wildest thing of all in this high-volume prequel to a certain well-known classic," says Kirkus Reviews in a tip of the hat to the master, Maurice Sendak in his Where the Wild Things Are.

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