Everybody loves a villain, and this huge book brings readers up very close indeed to three of the best (or should that be worst?). First there’s the Wolf: allowed to introduce himself he describes his ‘highly developed intelligence, natural cunning and exceptional athletic gifts’. Open the gatefold and there’s a list of key facts – My Top Food, Things I Hate, My Library (further reading). There’s a spritely telling of the story of The Seven Little Goats (the translation is by Daniel Hahn) and then, best of all, a full page figure of the wolf (these pages are huge don’t forget) which opens up to allow us to see right inside his brain – all those clever ideas – and right inside his stomach – all those little children and pigs. Paper engineering opens his mouth to reveal those famous big teeth and the foolish little goats disappearing down his throat. The giant and the wicked witch get the same treatment: an introduction, story and lift the flap figure. Particular treats are finding the giant’s tiny brain, and the little child hiding behind the witch’s ear.
This is a book to produce gasps and laughter and to send little shivers down the spine all at the same time, a delicious inside view of fairy tales that captures all of their fascinating, unsettling charm. Perrin’s illustrations are similarly humorous and dark, full of detail and added treats for readers.