The Grand Wolf

By: Avril McDonald


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Ebook


Size: 234 x 286mm

Pages : 32

ISBN : 9781785830198

Format: Paperback

Published: April 2016


Wolfgang and his friends love to visit the Grand Wolf but one day they arrive to find that he has gone and this makes them all feel very sad. Spider shows Wolfgang that by just seeing things a little differently he can feel happy again, knowing that true love never ends. Our lives are in a constant state of change and only we can ever know how big each change feels to us. The more we can talk about and embrace change, the better we get at it (whatever shape or size it comes in).

Suitable for 4- to 7-year-olds.

The Feel Brave series was a finalist in the 2017 Education Resources Awards in the Educational Book Award category.


Picture for author Avril McDonald

Avril McDonald

Avril McDonald is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Feel Brave series of books and founder of Feel Brave, a company with a vision to give all children access to tools that help them manage tough emotions and reach their potential. Avril has a Diploma of Education from Wellington College of Education, New Zealand, where she trained as a primary school teacher majoring in music and dance. She then had a varied career in digital entertainment before launching Feel Brave to give teachers and parents simple and practical strategies to help children with their emotional well-being. Her free '1 Dose/Day' emotional well-being programme for children is now used in more than 350 schools across ten countries. Avril is an official partner of the New Zealand Life Education Trust and Patron of Westminster Children's University.

Click here to read a feature on Avril's Feel Brave series on New Zealand's Stuff' website.

Click here to listen to UKEdChats podcast with Avril McDonald.

'Emotional tools for kids taught through books and songs.'

'Teaching children empathy.'

'Empowering kids to feel brave and tackle tough emotions'


Reviews

  1. The books do a great job of dealing with dark topics and have loads of perfect tension points for philosophical enquiry. The themes in the two I have used (The Grand Wolf and The Wolf and the Shadow Monster) are death and fear respectively and both prompted fascinating discussions on these topics in years 1 and 2.

    The spider character who reoccurs in every book providing a new way of framing the problem to help the protagonist is an especially useful generator of philosophical bite points. For example, in The Wolf and the Shadow Monster she says, "You can change how you feel using your mind". Doing this story with my year 2 class, we broke the circle on mind and then I asked them, "Is the spider right, can you change how you feel using your mind?" It was a fantastic discussion in which the children shared many surprising psychological insights. Our reading of The Grand Wolf facilitated a frank discussion about the nature of death as well as possibly distressing changes in general. After asking the children, "What does it mean, that the Grand Wolf died?", we discussed 'Is it bad when the world changes?' after the book's characters note that they do not want their world to change. This session was heavily praised by the teacher who was moved to shed a tear by the book's ending. 



    The children have also found the artwork compelling and interesting. I have had a lot of success with these books in the classroom.   
  2. The Feel Brave books use fictional narrative to explore social psychological predicaments through the journey of Wolfgang. The books do well to elicit emotional responses from the children, which draws them in to engage with the moral particularities of the situation Wolfgang finds himself in. They manage this through a combination of effective framing of moral situations which raise questions, a poetic rhyming structure of the text and vibrant artwork with a playful aesthetic appeal.
  3. Children love the Feel Brave books. The books help children learn about difficulties in life but in a way that makes them easy to understand and accept through the rhythm, rhyme and repetition, the beautiful illustrations and the very clear messages and strategies that are subtly put across in each story. The accompanying Feel Brave Teaching Guide curates great ideas, games and activities for teachers to build on the stories' messages and the Feel Brave -˜Emotion Cards' (which are made up of the Feel Brave characters) cleverly provide meaningful and fun ways for teachers to help build emotional literacy. The app demonstrates outstanding innovation around being able to combine ICT time with PSHE.

    As a teacher, I cannot praise these books and the teaching guide enough. My Year Three class love the books. They have listened to every story and we have even done a class assembly based on The Wolf is Not Invited using the CD-ROM with all of the book illustrations in the back of the teaching guide. My class performed this during the week leading up to anti-bullying week and the message was shared with the whole school. Children as old as 11 came out of the assembly wanting to read the books. We at Woodford Green Preparatory School were also very fortunate to have Avril visit the school during that week and the children could not get enough of her stories, which were an absolute hit. We created our own Feel Brave -˜Tree House' to support all of the PSHE work we continue to do around the Feel Brave books.

    The Feel Brave reading books, accompanying Feel Brave Teaching Guide, Emotion Cards and app make learning and teaching fun for children, and simple and practical for teachers. The stories can be used in so many cross-curricular ways, and with children falling in love with the characters there is a deep meaning for them in what they are doing which enhances their learning. To find stories that can open up conversations around self-confidence; anxiety and fears; change, loss and grief; worries and calming down; making relationships; and provide activities to support PSHE is such a great support for us as teachers.



    The series is great value for the amount of use a school can get out of the resources across many curriculum areas. The teaching guide has a CD-ROM containing all of the book illustrations, and each chapter has the stories written with page numbers which means that they can be projected onto a big screen for assemblies or classroom sessions and easily read aloud to children. Each book covers various current PSHE objectives for the Key Stage One group, which is often a challenging age to find really engaging and meaningful content for in emotional well-being.
  4. The Feel Brave books and resources demonstrate creative innovation for teachers and children in PSHE and across other curriculum areas. The resources are both physical and digital which make them both current and relevant for children. The books are wonderfully written in verse with beautiful and engaging illustrations so the resources really resonate with children, teachers and parents.

    The resources are a great way for children to learn about critical issues in their lives, such as resilience, friendship, anxiety and loss. The stories (which are based on sound psychological research) enable teachers and children to have conversations about such topics and integrate them into their PSHE objectives. The Feel Brave Teaching Guide offers both creative and cooperative activities and strategies to help build emotional well-being whilst also providing a lot of cross-curricular learning potential in areas such as literacy, art and physical education.

    The ideas for teachers in the teaching guide can be used as five-minute exercises during circle time or easily adapted into longer lessons so teachers can easily pick and choose what best suits their timetable and easily integrate PSHE into their day. The -˜Emotion Cards' and app provide ways for children to be independently learning and improving the way that they communicate their feelings and emotions. The CD-ROM with the book's illustrations allows teachers to be creative and flexible in how they use the stories and messages and create lesson plans around them.



    Just having a set of the Feel Brave books and teaching guide alone in a school provides great value in giving teachers fun and engaging ways to help children develop emotional well-being. We were fortunate to have Avril carry out an author visit at our school where she told the stories and demonstrated some of the activities with the children, which was of huge value to us. The feedback from her visit was extremely positive and attracted media attention based on the importance of tackling the alarming trends in children's mental health right now, a campaign which St John's fully supports.
  5. I am in awe of Avril McDonald's tender and wise book about dealing with grief. The lovely rhythmic language and the beautiful illustrations blend perfectly to explore the emotional journey of love and loss, breaking your heart and then helping it to heal. The book is so well written and talks about death in such a way that is perfect for children. Wolfgang and his friends express their disbelief and anger and share their tears as Wise Owl and Spider support them, help them deal with this major change in their lives and remind them that just because someone is gone doesn't mean they have left your heart. Tatiana Minina's colorful, bold and expressive illustrations really contribute to the book's message.

    The Grand Wolf is part of McDonald's Feel Brave Series of books which are designed to help children deal with real life situations, manage tough emotions and reach their potential. Each book tells a story about a real life situation that children may face and offers simple coping strategies. Each of the five books helps children deal with self-confidence, anxiety and fears, change, grief, loss, worries and bullying. Follow Avril McDonald on her Feel Brave website.



    This book is a great discussion book and resource for families and educators to use to talk about death with young children. It is a helpful book for a family dealing with grief, approaching grief or separation. There is also a Feel Brave Teaching Guide available along with a CD.

    Click here to see the review.
  6. I am writing this review with 2 hats on!

    As a mother of 2 children aged 3 and 11, I love these books. Both my children enjoy listening to the stories and they learn about difficulties in life but in a way that makes it easier for them to understand and accept. My 3 year old loves the rhythm of the stories. The first time I read The Grand Wolf, I couldn't stop the tears however it was written in such a way that even death seemed okay, and that was for me as an adult. Avril writes her books with so much passion and thought and I will recommend her books to anyone who has children.



    As a teacher I cannot praise these books and the teacher guide enough. I teach Year 3 and my class love the books. They have listened to every story and have even done a class assembly based on The Wolf is Not Invited. They performed this during the week leading up to anti-bullying week and the message was shared with the whole school. Children as old as 11 came out of assembly wanting to read the book. We at WGPS were also very fortunate to have Avril visit the school during that week and the children could not get enough of her stories. An absolute hit! The teacher's guide is full of ideas that support each of the books and is a must have for any PSHCE lesson.
  7. The Grand Wolf (Change, loss and grief) accentuates a topic that is very difficult to present to a 4-7 year old child. Learning to deal with loss and grief is a composite of many of the emotions already discussed in the previous books including strong feelings, loss, anger, need to calm, etc.  Since the child has had the opportunity to master exercises and activities that they already know and acknowledge, these exercises can be reworked around this concept. I like the idea expressed at the start of the lesson that states, “If we make grief less of a taboo subject, we can help children to become more open about feelings around loss”. Bravo to this idea. Parents, teachers, and others can present this topic in a caring and sensitive way to help children develop the social and emotional tools they need for mental wellness. I like how spider gives Wolfgang permission to cry, which is sometimes discouraged in small children. The characters in the story also continue on after learning of the loss to show what they can do next such as put up photos, tell stories, hold the person close in their hearts. 



    In the teaching guide, the exercises around how things change and helping others are excellent in operationalizing the concept of loss. The life of a caterpillar is often used as an example since its stages can easily be observed. Even more, the activity that promotes building compassion and empathy is critical to developing a sense of wellness. All children can develop these skills and the list of -˜how to do this' such as giving a hug, listening, etc. are important skills children can freely learn to give. Adults can benefit as well. 
  8. This series of books is truly amazing - wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated. They will help parents, caregivers and teachers support children, young and old, in developing emotional literacy. I see teaching emotional literacy as one of the most important things we as parents/teachers can do to help ensure our child's sense of well-being and future success.  

    You know you are in good hands with Avril too - with her background as a teacher and having a diploma in education, this depth of experience shines through!



    I couldn't recommend these captivating books more highly, a must for every child!
  9. Avril's Feel Brave series of stories for 4-7 year olds are perfectly pitched. The stories are engaging, funny and and sensitive. I have read them with a few children now, they've giggled out loud, asked questions provoked by the stories and used some of the terminology afterwards too - like -˜my magical mind'. Avril's stories are based on sound psychological research. The message is delivered in a simple way, often by the wise words of the friendly spider. The accompanying book for parents/teachers is excellent too. She expands on the themes from the stories and offers additional practical ideas to enhance learning and development. These books are a great way for kids to learn about resilience and emotional well-being.
  10. Avril McDonald's new series featuring her character Wolfgang (there are five books) are more than simply children's stories - they each carry an important message, and this is surely the most powerful and enjoyable way to get the messages across. The illustrations are superb, the messages simple but effective, and the series should seriously find a way into your home if you have young children. Each of the five books covers a different topic, e.g. bullying, that children might face during their young lives - each book explains through the eyes and the attitude of Wolfgang, how he deals with what's happening. This kind of storytelling is the modern equivalent of fables, and is a must-read for parents who want to help their children through the difficult stages of their lives. Absolutely terrific.

    Click here to read the review on their website.
  11. Part of the Feel brave series, little stories about big feelings. This story sees Wolfgang feeling loss and grief after losing the Grand Wolf. The message is simple yet touching: true love never ends and the more we can talk about and embrace change the better we get at it.

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