The Wise Old Boar

Children's Books

By Margaret Merry


ABOUT Margaret Merry

Margaret Merry
I am an artist and writer/illustrator of children's books living on an olive farm with my husband, dogs and cats in the mountains of Southern Spain. I love the mountain scenery, flora and fauna.My web site has links to my blogs.


Sure to become a children’s classic, the tale is all about Bruno, known to the other creatures of the forest as The Wise Old Boar, 

because they always seek his counsel whenever they have 

problems. But in fact, Bruno is actually very stupid. His advice is so silly that when it doesn’t work, the animals blame themselves for failure.

One day a dangerous storm approaches. The animals panic and flee to a cave. Bruno also tries to climb into the cave, but gets stuck. Quite by accident, Bruno saves everyone when he blocks the cave entrance, keeping out the flood waters. Instead of praising Bruno for his wisdom, he is now appreciated for his heroism.

In Carmen's bar in our village there is a large stuffed boar's head hanging on the wall. Someone has placed a hat and large pair of spectacles on it. This gave me the idea for the cemtral character, Bruno the Wise Old Boar. In September 2006 a terrible storm hit our valley in the mountains. Although brief it caused a lot of flooding and damage. The old villagers could not remember anything like it but there was a repeat of the storm the following September. This gave me the idea for the story.

The Wise Old Boar is a peculiar animal. He perches spectacles on his nose, wears a sombrero-inspired hat and carries a fat tome of wisdom, into which he dips for advice and counsel for his myriad of animal friends.

All the animals know Bruno is an incredibly enlightened being and that his book of wisdom holds all the answers to their problems. They also know he wears his hat to keep his brains nice and cool (all the better to do thinking with) but the truth is that Bruno is really a stupid old boar - a conceited and self-important bore, whose book of wisdom is really a recipe book and whose wise counsel is really a crock pot awaiting more intellectual ingredients.

When Boris the Badger, Sylvia the Squirrel, Faldo the Fox and their friends consult Bruno for advice, the old boar consults his tome and - in a lording voice - gives each animal outrageous solutions to their problems.

Keen to make use of such wise ponderings, the animals dash out to complete their tasks, only to have appalling and embarrassing (and funny) outcomes. Nonetheless, the animals blame themselves from not following Bruno's advice to the letter and the stupid old boar continues his reign of mishapping counsel.

Will Bruno and his self-inflated ways ever be popped like the proverbial balloon? When a raging storm appears on the horizon, Bruno's fate is cast - with a fun and gently moralistic outcome.

Author/illustrator Merry has created a charming tale in the style of the great classic fables - peppered with beautiful watercolour illustrations that are clearly inspired by her life in the Spanish countryside. A native of England, the author has created a warm and visually pleasing book with an engaging narrative, despite its considerable word length.

This word length initially worried me a little, however, the storyline works very well and doesn't lose pace - something older children will enjoy and younger ones can also enjoy - perhaps in instalments. The lovely illustrations will also delight readers of all ages.

I particularly enjoyed the fact that The Wise Old Boar was not too heavy handed on the typical 'moralistic ending' which tends to patronise children. The wrap up is instead smooth and subtle and employs a gorgeously configured outcome that pleases both the reader and animal characters of this appealing book.

The Wise Old Boar is the story of Bruno, the boar, who appeared wise to the other animals but was really quite stupid. The only animals that were not fooled by Bruno's facade were the owls, who really were wise, and the eagles who could fly high enough above the earth to observe the various goings-on. The rest of the animals, confused by Bruno's outward appearance of wisdom and pride, came to him regularly for advice. When they asked him about the moon he very solemnly informed them that it was made of cheese. When they wanted to know how to get worms to come to the surface of the ground so that they could dig them up, he told them to get an umbrella and declare it was raining. (Somewhat Pooh like!) Eventually everyone realizes that Bruno is not exactly wise, although he is a hero. How does that happen? Well, you have to read the book of course!

Neither of these storybooks are simple picture books. Each of the above stories are 68 pages long. Although there are pictures on each page, the large majority of the page is covered in writing. I would say that these books are best enjoyed by ages 6 to 12. (Amazon says 9 to 12 but I doubt you'd need to be THAT old.) Being that the stories are about construction trucks and animals, they are sure to capture the imagination of children quite easily. My son is interested in the pictures but at 2 1/2 he's not quite patient enough to sit through the whole story. I would give him another year or so and try again because they really are quite clever and charming. Also, Margaret Merry's illustrations are simply breathtaking. She is a true artist and I really love looking at her work. Again, take a look at her website to get a feel for what you can expect from these two storybooks.

These are wonderful stories that have a classic feel to them. I suspect you will enjoy them if you can get your hands on a copy! Read and enjoy!