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Children's Fiction Physical & Emotional Abuse

The Big Bad Wolf in My House

by (author) Valérie Fontaine

illustrated by Nathalie Dion

translated by Shelley Tanaka

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Mar 2021
Physical & Emotional Abuse, Emotions & Feelings, Sexual Abuse, Violence
Recommended Age
4 to 8
Recommended Grade
k to 3
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2021
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Where to buy it


A young girl describes what it’s like when her mom’s new friend comes to stay — a moving story about domestic violence that ends on a hopeful note.

The young girl tells us that her mom’s new friend is just like the big bad wolf. At first the wolf is sweet and kind to her mom, though the girl notices the wolf’s cold eyes from the very beginning. When her mom arrives home late one day, the wolf suddenly hurls angry words and terrible names at her. From that day on her mother doesn’t smile anymore. The girl is careful to clean her room and brush her teeth and do everything to keep the peace, but the wolf is unpredictable, throwing plates on the floor, yelling at her mother and holding the girl’s arm so tightly she is left with bruises. Whenever the yelling begins, she hides under the covers in her room.

How will she and her mom cope as the wolf becomes increasingly fierce?

Valérie Fontaine and Nathalie Dion have created a powerful, moving story about violence in the home that ends on a note of hope.


Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.

Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

About the authors

VALÉRIE FONTAINE est une auteure-enseignante-maman. Toujours un pied dans l’imaginaire, elle écrit et note du matin au soir. On ne sait pas si elle invente ses drôles d’histoires pendant qu’elle danse en cuisinant, par contre on sait qu’elle dévorerait bien des livres pour souper.


VALÉRIE FONTAINE is an author-teacher-mother. Always imagining, she writes and takes notes from morning to night. We don't know if she invents funny stories while she dances and cooks, but we do know that she eats books for dinner.

Valérie Fontaine's profile page

NATHALIE DION is an illustrator living in Montreal who studied Design Arts at Concordia University. Her other children's books include I Found Hope in a Cherry Tree by Jean E. Pendziwol, The Biggest Puddle in the World by Mark Lee and What's in Your Purse? by Abigail Samoun. Nathalie has received a number of awards for her illustration and has exhibited her work in Montreal galleries.


Nathalie Dion's profile page

SHELLEY TANAKA is an award-winning author, translator and editor. She has written more than twenty books for children and young adults, winning the Orbis Pictus Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, the Science in Society Book Award and the Information Book Award, and she has twice been nominated for the Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis. Other honors include Texas Blue Bonnet runner-up, School Library Journal Best Books, ALA Notables and IRA Young Adults’ Choice. Her translation of Michel Noel’s Good for Nothing won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People and was on the IBBY Honor List (Commended). Shelley teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts, in the MFA Program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She lives in Kingston, Ontario.


Shelley Tanaka's profile page


  • Commended, Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year
  • Short-listed, Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year Award
  • Commended, CCBC Choices
  • Commended, OLA Best Bets Honourable Mention

Editorial Reviews

[T]his is powerful stuff.

Wall Street Journal

A compelling story.

Canadian Children's Book News

The first-person telling’s candid descriptions of powerlessness, its emotional ramifications, and the prospect of escape all give language to an experience of abuse and let readers in similar circumstances know that they are not alone.

Publishers Weekly

This isn’t any easy book but it’s an important one.

Globe and Mail

Structuring the story around a simple, familiar fairy tale serves as an effective, age-appropriate introduction to this tough topic for very young children.

Quill & Quire

Masterfully done.

Kirkus Starred Review

[T]his brave new work showcases some of Canada’s most experienced and talented children’s literature creators … likely to resonate with readers on a symbolic level, just like the best fairy tales do.

CM Review of Materials

A skillfully crafted, emotionally honest treatment of a very challenging subject.

Horn Book

This brave book is not merely bibliotherapy. It’s a form of deliverance for those who are young, silenced, or inarticulate … The art resonates, casting simple shapes to allow the text to bear the weight of what is said, and what is not. STARRED REVIEW

School Library Journal

Valérie Fontaine and Nathalie Dion have taken us through the darkness from a child's perspective and shown us an outcome that offers the promise of respite.

CanLit for Little Canadians

Other titles by Valérie Fontaine

Other titles by Nathalie Dion

Other titles by Shelley Tanaka