Even before Jack London penned his famous tales, kids' wolf stories have entertained children for ages. The tradition of stories and books depicting this often misunderstood animal continues today.
Portrayal of the Wolf
All too often, the wolf is portrayed as "the bad guy" in the story. Traditionally, in many parts of the world, particularly rural areas that depend on livestock as their livelihood, the wolf is seen as a predator. He's after the sheep, the lambs, or the little pigs. He is cunning and deceitful. Unfortunately, all this negative press makes people fear wolves and view them as terrible animals.
Wolves usually only hunt livestock when their natural game has been depleted or when people move into the wolves' territory. Kids' wolf stories should contain a mixture of traditional folklore, along with positive portrayals of the wolf as a pack animal.
Popular Kids' Wolf Stories
You may already be familiar with many of these wolf tales from your own childhood, while others may be new. For children who love reading about animals, these stories about wolves should prove entertaining and memorable:
- Little Red Riding Hood: What child hasn't heard this story of a little girl going to visit her grandmother, and running into a hungry wolf along the way? This wolf is so smart, he dresses up in the grandmother's clothes, leading Red Riding Hood to utter her famous phrase: "Why, Grandma, your teeth are so big!" and the wolf's equally famous response: "The better to eat you with!"
- The Wolf's Story: What Really Happened to Little Red Riding Hood is a humorous take on the classic, depicting the wolf's side of the story for a change.
- The Story of the Kind Wolf presents a positive spin to the typical wolf story. In this tale, the wolf is a doctor who helps his fellow animals. It's a great story about fighting stereotypes and accepting people for who they are, not who you perceive them to be at first glance.
- The Boy Who Cried Wolf: Offered up as a cautionary fable for children who tell lies, this old story about a boy who cries "Wolf!" as a joke on the neighbors to get them to come running relates what happens when a wolf really shows up to eat precious sheep.
- White Fang by Jack London is a classic story about a wolf dog's journey from wild animal to that of tamed companion. Much of the book is presented from White Fang's viewpoint. The actions of the vicious humans in the story show that it's not always animals who behave in violent, savage ways.
- Peter and the Wolf: This Russian tale relates the story of Peter, who captures a wolf who has quickly eaten a hapless duck, and the subsequent victory parade that carries the wolf to the zoo.
- The Three Little Pigs: "Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!" is one of the more memorable lines from this story about three little pigs who each build a house made of straw, sticks and bricks, and what happens when a hungry wolf comes along.
- The International Wolf Center offers a wealth of links that teach kids all about wolves. This great, educational site can show children that wolves are not just dangerous predators always looking for their next victim.
Great Reading Material
Books and stories about wolves are often exciting and adventurous, perfect for children who love to read action-filled tales full of suspense. Make sure to provide a mix of stories for kids, so that they understand wolves aren't always as they are depicted. After all, it's not likely that one will come knocking at the door, begging to be let in!