Virginia Wolf

by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault

When Virginia wakes up feeling wolfish, “The whole house sank. Up became down.... read more

When Virginia wakes up feeling wolfish, “The whole house sank. Up became down. Bright became dim. Glad became gloom.” Her younger sister Vanessa tries to cheer Virginia up with no success, until she starts decorating the walls with a painting of an imaginary place called “Bloomsberry.” The literary allusions in Kyo Maclear’s picture book will go over the heads of young readers and listeners, for whom the names Virginia and Vanessa Woolf and Bloomsbury will be complete unknowns. But the book’s success is in capturing how one person’s grumpiness can have a profound impact on the mood in a house. The truth is in the child-centered details of both the narrative and Isabelle Aresnault’s marvelous illustrations, which show Virginia transformed into a wolf in silhouette. By story’s end, those pointy, wolfish ears are revealed as the big bow she wears on her head. Art, creativity, imagination, and a sister’s love save the day. (Ages 5–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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