Empathy Collection Discovery Tour 2024
What is EmpathyLab?
Empathy-Boosting Book Choice: Victor, the Wolf with Worries
The team at Empathy Lab invited us to choose one of the titles in the collection to showcase as a brilliant empathy-boosting recommendation as part of their Discovery Tour. We’ve selected Victor the Wolf With Worries by Catherine Rayner, which was chosen by our Review Panel as one of our Books of the Month back in August and also features on our list best children’s books of 2023.
Victor the Wolf With Worries tells the story of a wolf cub who finds himself carrying worries about everything. Our Review Panel said, “Victor the Wolf With Worries is a charming and thoughtful book. Beautifully presented, with exquisite artwork by the author, it is a feline take on ‘The Huge Bag of Worries’ and will, I’m sure, become a classic to draw upon both in the KS1 classroom and at bedtime. Victor has three all-encompassing worries which he feels are insurmountable, until his friend Pablo comes to the rescue.
Pablo’s solutions are simple and magically effective and many a teacher and parent up and down the country will find themselves incorporating these strategies into practice.”
The wolves in the story, despite being idealised as brave, big and fierce, look rather like shy, dignified puppies. Children will delight in naming them and considering the real characteristics that lie behind their grey coats and pointed noses. The conclusion of the story – that ‘everybody worries!’ and that ‘worries come and go’ – is a delightful drawing together of the narrative, leaving even the shyest little one feeling safe and comforted.
More ideas for exploring the book:
- Dealing with Worries: Pair the book with other stories about worries, like Ruby’s Worry, What If, Pig?, Small Stanley’s Big List of Scary Stuff or The Worry Jar. Make a bank of tools that different characters use to deal with their worries and display it for children to use as a reference. For more ideas, browse our Emotional Literacy booklist.
- Activity Sheets: Print the accompanying activity sheets available from the publisher, with a colouring activity and a space to make a list of things that make you happy.
- Illustrator Processes: Find out more about Catherine Rayner’s artistic processes. There is a lovely Q&A on the illustrator’s website and you might also be interested to read about her work in screenprinting.
- Big Bad Wolves: Start a project about wolves as story characters. Why do people consider wolves to be fierce, and how does this affect how Victor expects others to view him? You could dig into other storybooks about wolves to compare the character roles they play, such as Mr Wolf’s Pancakes, The Wolf’s Story, There is No Big Bad Wolf in This Story, and Emily Gravett’s Wolves. There’s also a wonderful fold-out wolf page in Inside the Villains. Challenge children to write a story with a wolf main character who doesn’t want to conform to stereotypes. For more twisted fairytale character inspiration, have a browse of our Fairytale booklist.
- Explore the Empathy Collection: Take some time to explore the rest of the books in the 2024 Read for Empathy primary collection. More of our favourites include Gina Kaminski Saves the Wolf, To The Other Side, My Heart is a Poem, Finding My Voice, Cosima Unfortunate Steals A Star, Finding Bear, How To Be More Hedgehog and The Final Year.
For more information about the Read for Empathy collection, please visit the EmpathyLab website.