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Wolf Hut (or `What Happened When the Three Little Pigs got Bigger`)

by andinadia 

Posted: 04 April 2015
Word Count: 270
Summary: Wolf Hut is my name for an actual wonderful cafe in the park where I live, which is a converted changing hut with exterior walls painted with Tudor portraits! The title has a sub-title (not an alternative title!)

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This is intended as a Pinteresque mood piece, based on role reversals. Not entirely sure where it's going yet so I wanted to see if it provoked any thoughts among lovely co-writers. It started out with the title (of course!), and almost became a regular narrative of a child (Little Wolf) foiling a bank robbery plot, a sort of Gilray commentary on financial greed. Now I think it might be a whole lot more interesting ... as understated as possible for such a young audience. 

Spread 1
Little Wolf had already locked the door when he heard a sneeze.  
It was nearly dark but Little Wolf could see a big shape outside. Huge. He couldn’t leave someone standing out in the rain. He unlocked the door and let the shape in.
(a/w: It’s dusk, midwinter, raining outside. Little Wolf is a child-sized wolf standing inside the door of the café. We can see a large blurred shape through the glass of the door. Behind the shape we can make out a park in the fading light.)
Spread 2
The customer took off his hat and shook his ears.
Big Wolf looked hard at the customer and remembered something from a long time ago.
“Tea?” Big Wolf asked.
“Yes,” the customer said, in a deep voice.
Big Wolf narrowed his eyes.
“Please,” the customer said, and he sat at the middle table.
(a/w: A large pig in an undersized greatcoat and pin striped trousers enters the cafe. We can see the ends of his pin-striped jacket poking from the ends of his coat sleeves. Big Wolf is standing behind the counter.)

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Comments by other Members

a.m.edge at 16:38 on 04 April 2015  Report this post
I'm confused. We've got Little Wolf in spread 1 and Big Wolf in Spread 2. Is that deliberate?I love the tension in the piece though.

TassieDevil at 17:35 on 04 April 2015  Report this post

My initial reaction was a little disquiet at the child wolf allowing this mysterious threatening being in as in spread 1. I feel that you need to have a visual mention at least that he is not alone in the cafe. I'm getting paranoid about sending wrong images - ie it's okay to let a stranger in - or in this case a shape that's huge. I recall an editor objecting to my male MC following female MC and saving her life in an adult tale. I'd never considered this as stalking. Likewise Freebird (I think)was recently chastised by an editor for the child going into the parent's bed because his bed was full of stuffed animals.

I hope I'm not being too negative here. The story itself has a lot of promise. I'm always interested in extensions of fairy tales/ nursery rhymes. This one has an interesting undercurrent.



Freebird at 17:51 on 04 April 2015  Report this post
It gives the reader a delicious shiver (presume Little Wolf = Big Wolf is just a typo) and I really like it. However, I do agree with Alan that we have to be careful about stranger danger messages. But that's only with a 'could I sell this.?' Hat on. I think it's actually a good thing to push the boundaries a bit and introduce some real danger. Publishing is far too safe, I think. I'd definitely like to see the rest, and the atmosphere is  spot on

Freebird at 17:52 on 04 April 2015  Report this post
It could be one of those picture books for adults (like 'Go the f*** to Sleep')

Tresbita at 23:19 on 04 April 2015  Report this post
I'd like to see where it goes next. What age group? Slightly older picture book readers could handle menace although I think I would make it clear that it was the pig before he enters the cafe. Rather than letting a complete unknown into the cafe. Are there other customers in the cafe? What kind of cafe? 

Coincidentally I have recently written a take on The Big Bad wolf as well. Very different angle to yours. Mine is a misunderstood vegetarian and all round nice guy. 

I did did some research and found there was a book called The three wolves and the pig, or something like that about 10, 15 years ago. Not read it though. 

andinadia at 23:51 on 04 April 2015  Report this post
That's a good range of comments. Thank you everyone. Just what I needed to keep going with this one. 

In fact Little and Big Wolf run the cafe together. This will have to be made clear in the first spread, either in the text or the artwork. The silhouette at the door will have to suggest also that it's a pig - the ears and the overall shape. It's funny how you fail to see things in your own work that you'd probably immediate spot in someone else's.

I was reading the other day about major differences between the picture book scene in UK and France - far more edgy in France on the whole, but probably because the UK pb market depends so much on foreign rights sales and has to satisfy all possible markets.

a.m.edge at 15:17 on 05 April 2015  Report this post
There's a great take on the story written by Helen Oxenbury: Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, I think. It's very funny. The Big Bad pig is finally won over when the wolves make their third house out of flowers. The pig smells them and his heart softens and they all become friends and play badminton together.

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