Watch Out for Wolf! by Anica Mrose Rissi and Charles Santoso

Hello, Anica Mrose Rissi and Charles Santoso! Happy Tuesday! A big thank-you for celebrating Watch Out for Wolf! with me. 

Anica and Charles: Hello, Mr. Schu! Thanks for having us. I’m so excited for the piggies and Wolf to step out into the world to seek their fortunes, starting right here on your blog today. Pigbert can’t stop squealing about it, and Piggit is wearing her best dress for the occasion. If there’s one thing these piggies love, it’s an excuse to throw a party with friends.

I wrote the words in purple, and Anica wrote the words in black. 

Watch Out for Wolf! tells the story of five anxious but enterprising little pigs who are preparing a very big surprise for Wolf. It recasts the “This Little Piggy Went to Market” nursery rhyme, weaving in other beloved fables and tales (including the story of The Three Little Pigs, of course) along the way. It’s also a story about friendship, assumptions, and inclusion. I had a lot a lot of fun writing it! And even more fun seeing Charles Santoso’s artwork bring it to life.

Charles Santoso’s illustrations bring the story to the next level with their playful and imaginative details. As you can tell from the title, Watch Out for Wolf!, the little pigs are avoiding Wolf throughout the book, and Charles added another layer to that story with the visual game of hide-and-go-seek that Wolf plays with the reader on almost every page. Looking for where Wolf (or her shadow) is lurking in each spread adds a spine-tingling thrill and really heightens the suspense.

Fairytales are fun to play with because each time one is told, it changes slightly (or a lot!) according to who is doing the telling. The listener’s familiarity with a classic tale means the storyteller’s voice and story choices are truly showcased. The audience comes to a fairytale or fable with many preformed expectations, and choosing how and when to subvert or meet those expectations was an engaging challenge for me as a writer. I enjoyed experimenting with anticipation and surprise within the framework of a comfortingly familiar story landscape.

Story is driven by characters, and characters are shaped by their stories. My picture-book manuscripts usually start with a character and a situation, and getting to know Piggle, Piggleton, Piggit, Piggums, and Pigbert better by accompanying them through the (many!) drafts of this tale was a delight. I hope readers will be as entertained by these five little piggies (and Wolf!) as I was.

I wrote the words in purple, and Charles wrote the words in green

Watch Out for Wolf’s cover was really fun and tricky to do. I wanted to show tension and mystery but also giving it fun and bright feeling. I hope I've got the balance right.

Anica Mrose Rissi managed to give this classic tale a really nice twist. The words were so great to read out loud and the characters were so fun that I can hear their voices when I illustrate the book. Watch out for Wolf! Watch out for Wolf!

Picture books are powerful, diverse, beautiful, important & not only made for children.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me if I am ever going to write my own book. The answer is I'm in the middle of it. Writing is hard, it doesn't come naturally to me and writing a picture book is especially tough. My respect towards writers has shot up towards the stars! I hope I can finish and share it with everyone one day. It'll be something lighthearted and silly.

Look for Watch Out for Wolf! on April 16, 2019. 


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