Mural, “Dance of the Books,” Panel 3, Helena Clare Pittman, The Grahamville Library.

Everyone’s up early this morning. To grandmother’s house they go to share a Thanksgiving Day feast. A cheerful collection of characters, each with a story to tell. (Just ask.) Goldilocks and Baby Bear appear to be buddies, with Mama and Papa Bear, in stride on the outside. This is one of their vegan days and Granny’s menu provides plenty of sweet desserts. Little Red helps her out with those. (She brings the wine, too, in most versions of her tale.)

Curious George adds fun, ready to search for solutions “outside the box” to problems that might arise. King Babar, dressed in royal modern, is a fitting leader for the harvest celebration parade.

“Hey, Sylvester,” Babar whispers to the donkey, “get yourself turned around. Please, no magic pebble mess-ups today.”

Wendy and her brother are hoisting themselves up and over the book-ridge, happy to get out of Neverland for the day. Who knows, maybe Peter Pan will fly in for the feast.

The Three Pigs look confidant, no worries about the Big Bad Wolf. Safety in numbers. But to be on the cautious side, Babar leads the group around rather than through the woods.

Come to think of it, Little Red is nowhere in sight. Slow down every one, call out the Tin Soldiers, the Seven Dwarfs, better yet, the Cat in the Hat with Thing 1 and 2. They can disrupt any dastardly activity in a split second.

Detail, Panel 8

There she is! Ahead of the group. She stopped en route, as usual. Look who’s lounging beside her? Templeton, already stuffed.

“Hey, Red, could ya help a poor rat get to the bash?”

If they meet the wolf on their way, he’ll make an appetizer out of old Templeton.

But the Wolf is famous for thinking ahead, hedging his bets. He knows it will be worthwhile to save his appetite for the rest of the parade. That’s where he’ll likely find his favorite trio.

“Woo Hoo,” a cheery voice calls from the distance, “come along. We’ve been waiting for you. Keeping the food warm and tasty.” Grandmother stands at her cottage door, waving her kerchief.

With Templeton in her arms, Little Red is the first to enter. “You and who else?”
Behind Granny is the Wolf, all toothy grins and drools.
Little Red drops Templeton.
“Ouch! Dammit, Red.”
The Three Pigs stop dead in their tracks, chin hairs quivering.
The Thee Bears begin to growl in their different registers.
Curious George takes a flying leap to the Man’s shoulder.
“This wasn’t the day to jump stories,” mutters Wendy, backing out with her brother.
Sylvester holds tight to his magic pebble, in the ready for whatever comes next.
Babar draws himself up to his full height, preparing to lay down Thanksgiving Day edicts.

The wolf smiles broadly at everyone. “It’s just me. I got here before you to check on your grandmother, Little Red, like I always do.” He pauses. “But that’s where the old tale ends and the new one begins.” The Wolf’s wide eyes exude warmth and slyness, his teeth bright white and sharp, and his nose trembles with excitement.

“My friends, I’ve been forever profiled as the antagonist, the Big Bad Wolf. I want to change. I’ve revised my backstory and added a new chapter to the annals of Wolf Sagas.”

He leans into the group, eyes brimming, his voice soft but vibrant. “You see I’ve always wanted to be a hero, loved for my nobility and generosity. From this Thanksgiving Day forward, let me proclaim myself as Superwolf, canine of steel, and newly converted herbivore!”

After much cheering and congratulations, they all touch limbs and sing a song of thanks for the bounty of Grandmother’s totally vegan dinner before they gobble it up.