Another Look at “The Gunniwolf”

Last spring, I wrote about a discovery I made while writing a short screenplay.  Elements of The Gunniwolf, a cautionary tale about a little girl who wanders into the woods and encounters the titular beast, made its way into the script.  I heard the story in grade school, but had forgotten about it, until I noticed the similiarity between a key sequence in my script and a key sequence in the folk tale.  The blog came to the attention of Harriet Stovall Kelley this past October, as she was researching some titles in her collection of antique books online.

Ms. Kelley owns a 1936 edition of Wilhelmina Harper’s The Gunniwolf and Other Merry Tales, illustrated by Kate Seredy.  She shared with us a sample of Seredy’s illustrations for The Gunniwolf.  In my first blog, I compared and noted the differences between  illustrations in two different editions of The Gunniwolf:  William Wiesner‘s Asian influenced, earth tones versus Barbara Upton’s colorful, vibrant landscapes.  Note the style and differences in Seredy’s illustration.  The Little Girl is in period clothing, and appears more urban that rural.  The gunniwolf may be the scariest of the three, but check his ears!  The jungle foliage and colors appear to be art deco (though I’m not entirely certain), which was the popular style of the thirties.  Ms. Kelley describes Seredy’s illustrations as soft and delicate.  In other books, Seredy’s style is that as well as bold and striking.  Seredy has authored several children’s book titles which she also illustrated.

Girl and gunni     gunniwolf-close-up.jpg
The Little Girl and the Gunniwolf as drawn by Weisner (above left), Upton (above right) and Serey (below)

Harriett Stovall Kelley is an award winning poet, whose works include an edition of her great-grandfather’s novel Rival Lovers, and The Butterfly Hotline, which she edited with fellow Agnes Scott College alums in memoriam to author Georgia Christopher.  An Atlanta native, Ms. Kelley currently lives in Dallas, Texas.  Our thanks to her for reading our blog and sharing her book and insights with us!


The Gunniwolf with illustrations by Barbara Upton is available at 5 CCLS libraries.  The Gunniwolf with illustrations by William Wiesner and The Gunniwolf and Other Merry Tales are available through PINES.  Please ask the staff at your library branch for assistance.

Read the blog “Childhood Favorites: Rediscovering ‘The Gunniwolf’

Published in: on January 29, 2008 at 1:37 am  Leave a Comment  

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