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*Ferocious Wild Beasts!* by Chris Wormell
Ferocious Wild Beasts!
by Chris Wormell
Ages 3-7 32 pages Knopf December 2009 Hardcover    

One day a bear meets a sad-looking young boy in the forest. The boy tells the bear that he has been naughty; he has wandered into the forest against the instructions of his mother, and the forest is full of “ferocious wild beasts!”

The friendly bear begins to worry now - the boy says that the beasts are hairy and will gobble up everything, including bears! The two new friends continue on through the forest until they meet a friendly elephant eating a banana. Immediately, they advise the elephant to beware – there are “ferocious wild beasts on the loose!” Beasts so big that they could squash an elephant.

The elephant joins the boy and the bear on their journey. The friends subsequently meet a lion, crocodile, wolf and python who also join them on their journey, and now it is growing dark. Soon they hear a sound of a terrible beast and see a flickering light. All the animals run for their lives, except the boy. The beast is his “ferocious wild mom,” once again warning him not to go into the forest.

A wonderful story for reading aloud, Ferocious Wild Beasts! begs to be read with expression - a perfect model for the exemplification of voice within written text. Filled with humor and suspense, the surprise ending is sure to bring a smile or an uproarious laugh from every listener.

Wormell’s watercolor drawings fill each page, extending the emotion of the moment in the faces of the animals and gestures of the boy. Reminiscent of a fairy tale, this cumulative story is a perfect mentor text to review sequence and to introduce the concept of plot climax. Mothers will also love this story, especially as it takes mom out of her stereotypical role into the scary, fun character. Highly recommended.

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