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The Complete Polly and the Wolf Hardcover – 4 Oct 2016
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"The stories...empower girls and underdogs, and extol brains over brawn." --Martha V. Parravano"I can't think of much children's literature that offers as much simultaneous pleasure to parent and child as the Polly and the wolf stories. Rereading them, I marveled, roared with laughter, was moved by the wolf's eternal hopefulness. The stories are also exceptionally well-written. What's more, they provide the comforting lesson that calm intelligence will triumph over silly rapaciousness every time. It's no exaggeration to say that Storr's wolf is one of my favorite characters in all of fiction." --Elizabeth McCracken "This agility in the storytelling keeps the book from being just frightening, just comic, or just a cautionary tale...60 years later it still reads like a feminist reworking of Little Red Riding Hood. The book even includes a story called 'Little Polly Riding Hood, ' in which it turns out that the wolf has read the tale and mistaken it for a how-to guide for catching juicy little girls to eat. This story also has a character I particularly approve of: a grandmother, portrayed as quick-witted and able to see off danger. There are no weak little girls here, and no dotty old ladies either." --Emma Healey, The Guardian "It is an extremely good book, but one that was rather forgotten - in the last 10 or 15 years it had more or less disappeared from view. When we made it our book of the month and gave it a prominent place in all the shops, parents and grandparents remembered it and bought it." --James Daunt, chief executive of Waterstones "With its charming black and white illustrations of a little girl with pigtails and knee socks, it is a throwback to another age. Yet the story of a resourceful child who outwits a wolf has flown to the top of the children's best-seller list at Waterstones [UK], out-selling popular adult titles including Paula Hawkins' hit thriller The Girl On The Train." --Anita Singh, The Telegraph (UK)
About the Author
Catherine Storr (1913-2001) was born Catherine Cole and brought up in Kensington, London. A talented organist, she studied with Gustav Holst at St Paul's Girls' School. She graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge, with a degree in English literature and went on to study medicine. She began practicing as a psychiatrist in 1944 and worked at Middlesex Hospital in the 1950s and '60s before becoming an editor at Penguin in 1966. She published her first book, Ingeborg and Ruthy, in 1940, and married Anthony Storr, a fellow psychiatrist, in 1942. They had three daughters: Sophia, Emma, and Polly--for whom she wrote Polly and the Wolf and its sequels. In addition to her stories about Polly and the Wolf, she went on to write some one hundred books for young readers and adults, including Marianne Dreams, Marianne and Mark, Lucy, and Tales from a Psychiatrist's Couch. About her work, she once remarked, "I don't write with a child readership in mind, I write for the childish side of myself."Marjorie Ann Watts is the daughter of Punch cartoonist Arthur Watts. After training as a painter and illustrator in the 1940s, she worked for a time as an art editor and typographer before embarking on a career writing and illustrating books for children. In addition to her stories for young people, she has also published a novel, a story collection, a memoir of her childhood in wartime London, and a children's guide to European painting.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The Complete Polly and the Wolf is a collection of four volumes of stories - Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf, Polly and the Wolf Again, Tales of Polly and the Hungry Wolf, and Last Stories of Polly and the Wolf. The volumes were written by Dr. Catherine Storr and were originally written for her daughter who was always afraid of a wolf under her bed. There are 36 stories total in this collection, each no more than a few pages. Like most wolf stories, the wolf is the villain only thinking about his appetite and trying to eat the child Unlike most wolf stories, the wolf and the would-be victim have a running dialogue. The Wolf and Polly discuss why he wants to eat her, how he plans to catch her, and why he never succeeds. The stories start out with her very young and progress in complexity as she grows older. The game borrows from fairy tales occasionally, as the Wolf reads a lot of books, so he is trying to draw on what he has read to eventually catch her and eat her. The closing story involves the Wolf being captured and Polly coming to his aid. She defends him so that the people will not kill him, but he ends up tricking her (for once) and escaping. The stories are cute and fun and a nice twist on the traditional wolf stories. I read them to my son at night and he thinks they are both funny and silly.
This book was provided to me for free by New York Review of Books in exchange for an honest review.