Primary Genre(s): Children’s Fiction, Family & Parenting
Published: Mar 2021 by Groundwood Books
Page count: 32 (print length)
My Format: eBook via NetGalley (ARC)
Do I Recommend: Yes
Commission Link (U.S.): Buy The Big Bad Wolf in My House
My rating: ★★★★★
A young girl describes what it’s like when her mom’s new friend comes to stay — a moving story about domestic violence that ends on a hopeful note.
The young girl tells us that her mom’s new friend is just like the big bad wolf. At first the wolf is sweet and kind to her mom, though the girl notices the wolf’s cold eyes from the very beginning. When her mom arrives home late one day, the wolf suddenly hurls angry words and terrible names at her. From that day on her mother doesn’t smile anymore. The girl is careful to clean her room and brush her teeth and do everything to keep the peace, but the wolf is unpredictable, throwing plates on the floor, yelling at her mother and holding the girl’s arm so tightly she is left with bruises. Whenever the yelling begins, she hides under the covers in her room.
How will she and her mom cope as the wolf becomes increasingly fierce?
I read this book blind, so I assumed it was going to be another cute children’s book like previous ones I’ve reviewed. I was very wrong. Here are my pros and cons for The Big Bad Wolf in my House:
- This book is about domestic violence and abuse, but it isn’t too graphic or overtly realistic. It is told from the viewpoint of a little girl living in a house with her mom’s new boyfriend/husband who is verbally and physically abusive to them both.
- This book is so simple, yet profoundly heartbreaking and emotional. Seeing abuse from a child’s perspective gives it a deeper, more sinister element. The things the little girl does to try to shield herself from the violence is incredibly heartbreaking. In addition, the little girl observes her mother’s personality change (for the worse) because of the abuse, and that was also gut-wrenching.
- The thoughtful illustrations, by Nathalie Dion, enhance the emotional depth of the book.
- I’m thankful the book ends on a positive note, with the mother getting them away from the situation and seeking help.
- There is information at the end of the book about the organizations that are available to help children in these situations, including the Kids Help Phone (in Canada) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline (in the USA).
This isn’t a book you pick up for a light read. This is a book you pick up to ensure children understand what abuse is and how to ask for help if it occurs. Parents/caregivers need to be prepared to discuss this book with children, particularly younger children, rather than just let them absorb the information on their own.
I am blessed beyond measure to never experience anything like this and I think I would have been traumatized as a child even knowing something like this exist. Sadly, situations like this are so frequent that children need to be aware they can speak up, ask for help, and they don’t have to live in constant fear. This book may help them do that.
Written for reading age level 4 to 8 years.
Thank you NetGalley and Groundwood Books for providing an ebook, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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