Evening my lovelies! Today’s offering, Scar and the Wolf, is a quirky little (and I mean that literally – only 85 pages!) read based on a retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale. The difference here is that the main character, Scar (short for Scarlet), is a zombie. She’s also missing a nose, but that’s to be expected if you’re a member of the walking undead.
I must admit that I’m generally not a fan of fairy tales, fractured, re-imagined or otherwise and this did taint my enjoyment of this book just a little. But really, it was only a teensy amount. The book pretty much follows the traditional plot of the story – girl goes walking, girl meets wolf disguised as friend, girl invites wolf to her granny’s house, wolf beats girl to aforementioned house, wolf eats granny, wolf eats girl, girl and granny triumph over wolf after extracting themselves from wolf’s innards – with some added putrefied extras and some classic zombie character names. There are also two disenfranchised spare body parts along for the ride – Pokey and Sniffy – that provide some comic relief.
* you like your middle grade fiction to contain more than a whiff of decay, putrescence and general rot
* you would happily line up for hours to purchase a haggis of finest quality
* you believe that even zombie teens should have access to fashionable all-weather wear
* you fervently adhere to the accepted norms of social etiquette, including the rule that the old “Got your nose!” gag should only be performed on those with non-detachable body parts, lest awkwardness ensue
I was really, really looking forward to this book after reading the carefully crafted blurb. I had tummy butterflies on thinking about it, I kept putting off reading it because I wanted to stretch out the moment of anticipation….and it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. Admittedly, this may be because I was hoping for an in-depth, fleshed out (pun intended) YA type of story that exploited the fairy tale genre but existed in a fresh, new world of undeath. I also wanted it to be illustrated. That would have been the icing on the festering unearthday cake.
This is middle grade fiction, pure and simple however, and for what it is, it’s great. It weaves in the angst of a young teen trying to fit in and feel grown up, the ups and downs of friendship, and what it means to take responsibility for one’s actions. There’s plenty of humour and little gross-out moments that middle-graders will appreciate. It’s short enough not to be daunting to reluctant readers but engaging enough for more able readers to feel like they’ve got some bang for their reading buck. And best of all, this is the debut book in the series. I for one will definitely be looking out for the second book, Moldylocks and the Bear.
Might I also point out, that this title would be perfect for the Small Fry Safari KidLit Readers Challenge 2014 in category one (a book with something related to safari in the title), category four (a book with someone’s name in the title) or category seven (a book with something unsightly in the title)? Click on the attractive button below to find out more and sign up with the other intrepid explorers already commited!
Until next time,