Footprints in the Snow by Mei Matsuoka

Wolf is feeling offended and indignant – all the wolves he has ever read about are nasty, scary and greedy, so to set the record straight he decides to write a story about a nice wolf. But will his wolfish instincts get the better of him after all?

It is snowing outside so this book seems very apt. From one misunderstood creature to another, I can really understand where poor wolf is coming from. There he is, sat in his room surrounded by books and he still struggles to find a true representation of himself. So he decides to create his own book, about Mr Nice Wolf who follows footprints in the snow to try and find a new friend.

A book about creating a book! A book within a book! This is rhino reading heaven.

Footprints was nominated for the 2009 Kate Greenaway Medal and it’s clear to see why. The concept is brilliant and engaging. I love the way the illustrations explain the idea of a book within a book, with the wolf’s writing table used as the page border and the occasional paw or pen showing. We even get a glimpse of the wolf as author and illustrator, seeing the reference book he is using for research as he draws his duck.

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Matsuoka draws the reader in with lots of lovely details, like a mouse dipping its biscuit in Wolf’s coffee. Then, with a fiendish twist that will delight questioning children, we are left with an open ending. Perfect for children to examine and imagine. How will it end? What will happen to Wolf? And is he nice after all?

A huge rhino hurrah to Mei Matsuoka for a beautiful book.

Source: Our lovely local library.

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