This is a childrens' book written by Catherine Storr, and illustrated by Marjorie-Ann Watts.
It was first published by Faber and Faber books in 1955, long before authors had to be politically correct. The current paperback version is published by Puffin Books, ISBN 0-140-30312-X
My 7-year-old daughter says, "It's funny, because, y'know Polly, she outwits the wolf every time", with a lovely smile on her face. She really enjoys reading the book.
The book is a collection of short stories, starting with the first, which was originally published as a stand-alone piece, titled Clever Polly, and continuing with 11 more adventures, during which the relationship between Polly and the wolf develops. They remain unfailingly polite towards each other throughout, but they both know that the wolf wants to catch and eat Polly.
Yes, it’s inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, but it's much funnier. And there isn't even any allegorical sex in it, the eating is all about filling the wolf's stomach, and nothing else. Unlike the original, Polly always engineers her own escape, while the Wolf always lives to try and catch her another day.
Polly is a clever, kind thoughtful girl, and is completely unfazed when the big black wolf calls at her door to say he intends to eat her up.
Each story is around 1500 words long and they are all well-suited to readers in the 6 to 9 age bracket. Storr has published a further three collections of stories based on the same characters:
Polly and the Wolf Again
Tales of Polly and the Hungry Wolf
Last Stories of Polly and the Wolf.
They all follow the same theme, with ever-more inventive ways for Polly to escape from being eaten.
The stories in the first book are as follows:
Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf
Little Polly Riding Hood
The Visible Wolf
The Wolf in the Zoo
Polly Goes for a walk
The Seventh Little Kid
In the Wolf’s Kitchen
The Wolf in Disguise
A Short Story
I'd strongly recommend it for either confident young readers, or as a collection of stories to read aloud to a child.
As a sample, take this parody on the well-known rhyme, taken from Monday's Child:
Monday's child is fairly tough,
Tuesday's child is tender enough,
Wednesday's child is good to fry,
Thursday's child is best in pie.
Friday's child makes good meat roll,
Saturday's child is casserole,
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day,
Is delicious when eaten any way.
Well, the nodeshell was here, just waiting to be filled...