In this witty graphic novel, a community of forest animals trades scary rumors about a nearby wolf. Some critters have even gone into business selling wolf traps and anti-wolf fences. But when the wolf appears in a pair of striped underpants, everyone rethinks their fears. This is a heartwarming story about understanding differences, told with an oddball sense of humor.
"This funny story infused with a lesson about fake news opens with a fairy-tale staple: villagers confronting a looming terror, in this case a wolf with wild eyes and ice pick–like fangs. The woodland animal villagers spend their days learning about their foe, and when a friendly, goofy-underpants-clad wolf shows up one day, they warn him of the danger. It turns out, of course, that he’s the terror in question, and the villagers are forced to admit that maybe living in fear isn't a way to live at all. The closing lesson becomes a little pedantic, but otherwise this is a fast-moving, amusing narrative topped off with almost-bad words (butt! undies!) that young readers will love. The attractive, detailed art uses woodland tones and features expressive creatures that resemble those drawn by Richard Scarry. VERDICT A winner whose short text and appealing artwork will find fans among emerging readers."—School Library Journal—Journal
"In this humorous early graphic novel–styled outing, fear of the wolf dominates the animals of the forest, so much so that merchants cannily capitalize on it by selling anti-wolf alarms, wolf crime novels, and newspapers filled with wolf-attack stories. As rumors of the wolf's approach grow, the anti-wolf brigade nervously steps up—only to find the wolf an affable chap in warm stripy undies that have quieted his howls of cold discomfort. Their reaction isn't relief but concern about their economic infrastructure ('This is a disaster!'), but the wolf points out the possibilities ('Maybe you need more in your lives than just fear'), and the community starts to let go of its panicky ways. The satire may have a contemporary political bite, but it's a fine addition to the classic category of comic fables even for youngsters not au fait with current events, with lots of goofy humor to keep the attention of those drawn by the titular underpants. The art suggests digital pencil and watercolor effects, with a cast of swiftly cartooned forest figures providing comic turns in panels and in forest scenes teeming with funny little vignettes that are worth poring over (and that lead to a bit of a final twist). Kids drawn by the underpants will stay for the entertainingly edged comedy."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books—Journal
"Is a frosty fanny the cause of the forest creatures' fear? The woodland denizens fear the wolf and its 'crazy eyes' and 'fangs like ice picks.' Their marketplace bristles with stalls hawking anti-wolf alarms, wolf-defense karate, and wolf traps, and lectures about the wolf are always well-attended. However, when the critters, led by the heavily armed 'anti-wolf brigade,' actually meet the wolf, they are surprised by his mild manner and prominent red-and-white-striped undies. Soon they learn that a chilly keister had made the wolf uncomfortable, causing its eerie howls and terrifying demeanor. The animals now face an existential crisis; who will buy wolf traps and attend lectures now? The wolf sensibly tells them, 'maybe you need more in your lives than just fear.' With numerous mentions of butts and underpants, expect the requisite giggles. Those assuming this is another tale of self-acceptance will be pleasantly surprised by the turn to the dangers of fear and prejudice. (Those hoping for some address of the language demeaning mental illness will be disappointed.) Older readers with a keen eye should be able to spot a darkly comic twist at its conclusion. Large, earth-toned illustrations range in size from lush two-page spreads to smaller, compact borderless panels, creating an engaging hybrid between a picture book and graphic novel that would work well read independently or aloud. Young readers will howl for this tale that combines a timely, smart message alongside crowd-pleasing silliness."—Kirkus Reviews—Journal
"Cozy knitwear changes lives in this graphic novel about a fear-mongering woodland populace. Stressing over the local wolf has become the community's raison d’être and an engine of the local forest economy. Bunnies, foxes, turtles, and other animals support a ragtag antiwolf brigade of badgers ('This forest pays a lot for them, but it's worth it'), read wolf crime novels, and line up for dubious antiwolf hazelnut products. Then the actual wolf shows up wearing striped red-and-white underpants and reveals that he was never a threat at all. The 'icy cry' and 'crazy eyes' that strike fear in forest hearts? All due to 'chilly buttocks'—a problem solved by the 'life-changing' knit undies ('Comfort! It's so important'). 'Sorry,' he tells the shocked critters, not a little disgusted by their hateful behavior, 'but maybe you need more in your lives than just fear.' Drawings by Itoiz and Cauuet's are gems of comic timing and choreography, and the sly translation by Lupano (Curtain Call for adults) makes this satirical—and unavoidably relevant—tale worthy of joining the canon of classic Big Bad Wolf spoofs."—Publishers Weekly—Journal
Wilfrid Lupano was born in Nantes, in the west of France, and spent most of his childhood in the southwestern city of Pau, France. He spent his childhood reading through his parents' comic book collection and enjoying role‑playing games. He studied literature and philosophy, receiving a degree in English, before he began to script comics. He has written numerous graphic novels for French readers, including the series Les Vieux Fourneaux (in English, The Old Geezers). With this series, Lupano and Paul Cauuet first developed the idea that would become The Wolf in Underpants. Lupano once again lives in Pau after spending several years in the city of Toulouse.
Mayana Itoïz was born in the city of Bayonne, in the southwest of France, and studied at the institut supérieur des arts de Toulouse (School of Fine Arts in Toulouse), where she worked in many different mediums. In addition to being an illustrator and a cartoonist, she has taught art to high school students. She lives in the Pyrenees, near France's mountainous southern border, and splits her time between art, family, and travel.
Paul Cauuet was born in Toulouse and grew up in a family that encouraged his passion for drawing. He was also a fond reader of classic Franco-Belgian comics such as Tintin and Asterix. He studied at the University of Toulouse and went on to a career as a cartoonist. Cauuet and Wilfrid Lupano first collaborated on an outer-space comedy series before working together on Les Vieux Fourneaux (The Old Geezers).