The Wolf is Not Invited

By: Avril McDonald

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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 234 x 286mm
Pages : 32
ISBN : 9781785830174
Format: Paperback
Published: April 2016

Wolfgang is left heartbroken when his best friend Catreen runs off without him to play with Clarissa. Spider shows Wolfgang how to make his own fun and Wolfgang realises that there are other great friends out there just waiting to be met! There are some situations and feelings that we cannot change and there are some that we can. Knowing the difference between the two (and some ways to make ourselves feel happy) is a great trick to have up our sleeves!

Suitable for 4- to 7-year-olds.


The Wolf is Not Invited was announced WINNER of The People’s Book Prize Awards 2017 children’s category. Click here to view a video of the ceremony, tune in at 50:23 to view the interview with Avril.

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

The Wolf is Not Invited was a finalist in the children’s picture books/early reader category in the 2016 Foreword Indies Awards.

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'


  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.

    The Wolf is Not Invited looks at issues of rejection, trust, autonomy, determinism, friendship and perception. Wolfgang must deal with the fact that Catreen has made a new friend and the feelings of abandonment as a result. Catreen must come to terms with her poor choice of friends and the isolation she experiences as a repercussion.

    Task questions:

    1. Should they open the door? p.7

    2. Should they play with Clarissa? p.11

    3. Is Catreen a good friend? p.13

    4. Was Catreen right to teach Clarissa a lesson? p.23

    5. Should Wolfgang be Catreen's friend again? p.24

    6. Was Catreen a good friend to Wolfgang? p.28

    7. Was Catreen a good friend to Clarissa? p.28

    8. Was Wolfgang a good friend to Catreen? p.28
  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 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.
  6. The Wolf is Not Invited (Self-confidence) helps children to build resilience and to develop a positive voice about themselves and others. Positive self-talk is critical to mental wellness and leads to independence. What makes this story so valued comes from the fact that it is commonplace in children at this age, children who are mean to friends or shut them out to be with another friend.  The words are powerful: “Don't let your heart break though Catreen has left you”. Children get stuck and don't know what to do (adults too!) when they experience such hurt. The message is that you can move ahead, make new friends or even be alone for a while. Again, the kindness factor is there; when Catreen returns she is sorry for what she did and Wolfgang lets her back into his life. The element of forgiveness is also strong.  

    In the teaching guide is a wonderful poem that helps a child learn yoga moves to accompany the poem.  This can be repeated daily to become a natural way to address stress and anxiety. Here is where the emotion cards are introduced.  As a classroom teacher or as a counselor these would be used extensively to help children both identify and to talk about their feelings.   The fact that they can be manipulated, held, touched, and moved is important at this age. Helping children identify all the feelings that are projected in this story is also a safe way to help them learn this. It teaches children that having a feeling is OK and that we should be able to share these openly. The self-confidence activities can be used with an individual or in a classroom.  The specificity of the activities is very helpful and would assist a teacher or a parent in accomplishing them. 
  7. We found this book to be so original from the illustrations through to the plot of the story. It's a tale about friendship and one that will leave your child with lots of questions and lessons learned. It's a great read!

    You can read the review on the Toppsta website.
  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. This book is brilliant! Easy to read and has an important message. I read it to my daughter who is starting school in September. When we finished she said “so it's ok that I make new friends and my old friends make some too, they are still my friends”. I was so pleased she thought this and puts my mind at ease about her starting school.

    You can read the review on the Toppsta website.
  10. This is a fantastic book. I highly recommend it. We won this through Toppsta and the publisher kindly laminated Sophie's certificate, which looks great to put on the wall.

    It's a large book which is great to sit and read together, it also makes a great book for me to read to her on story time for bed.

    The illustrations are unique and of a very high quality print.

    The message on the first page is heart warming - the wonderful love of true friendship, and that is the centre of the philosophy for throughout this book. What a lovely heartwarming message.

    The text is in a large size, great for little ones learning to read and with short sentences. The illustrations really come alive and pop up on each page.

    The tale is about the friendship between Wolfgang and Catreen, a wolf and a cat. But a new pal comes along and upsets everything. Poor Wolfgang gets left out. But he found lots of new friends and fun and his dear friend came back. It deals with the hurt feelings beautifully. I especially like how the apology from Catreen comes along with a cup of tea. This handles this sensitive subject of friendship so delicately and brilliantly in rhyme. A beautiful story.

    My Sophie sat and listened to it all in one sitting, she loved the pictures.

    You can read the review on the Toppsta website.
  11. I liked that this book taught me to help lonely people. I really enjoyed reading it and my favourite character was the wolf because he felt like I do sometimes. I liked that the end was happy. By Aaron age 6. 

    You can read the review on the Toppsta website.
  12. We loved everything about this book - from the colourful pictures to the playful characters. The rhyming storyline was really fun too.

    We felt very sorry for the poor wolf when he was singled out and left to play alone but we were soon cheering when the happy ending came.

    There was lots of whats, wheres and whys whilst reading the story which meant she was interested and wanted to know more!

    We all really enjoyed reading this book and I've a feeling we will be reading it again very very soon.

    You can read the review on the Toppsta website.
  13. Lovely story highlighting the difficulty of navigating friendships for young children.  I read this to my 2 and 6 year olds and they immediately asked for it again and again. They really connected with the storyline which prompted discussion about their own experiences and expectations. A lovely rhyming book with a relevant message. Only criticism is that the more unpleasant character was a blonde female - bit of a cliché.

    You can read the review on the Toppsta website.
  14. We really enjoyed reading The Wolf is Not Invited. The story tackles the complex issue of friendships in a really accessible way; my 3 year old was able to talk about why the characters felt upset or worried. This was helped by the fact that the characters were so distinct in their personalities. We really liked the bright and very imaginative illustrations, there was so much to discuss on each page. We also loved the rhyming text. As other reviewers have mentioned, I was a bit disappointed with the ending as it suggests that it is normal to only have one good friend.

    You can read the review on the Toppsta website.
  15. The illustrations in this book are very charming and the rhyming style of the text is very lively. The character of the wolf and cat best friends are very sweet. My three year old twin girls liked the characters and the story but did need aspects of it explained to them. The basic theme of best friends for ever is an important lesson for children to learn. All friends have fallings out but will always make up. I don't really agree with the theme of only having one friend who is best and not having room for others. Overall a nice book that teaches children about friendships and emotions.

    You can read the review on the Toppsta website.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. We say-¦ There are some situations and feelings that we cannot change and there are some that we can, this book has a hidden moral that will help children understand the difference between the two and find new ways to make ourselves feel happy!

    Click here to see the review.

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