wolves in the walls

22341The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean (2003).

Creepy title, creepy cover, right?!



This reads like a book for older kids and even adults. In part, because it’s kind of scary, this idea of wolves in the walls. And those mixed-media illustrations! Super scary. Also wonderful for their use of real photographs and line drawings that together, give me the creeps. In a good way.





Lucy is the wise one in her family, we come to know that. She’s the one who knows there are wolves in the walls. Her family doesn’t believe her. They also say that if wolves are in the walls and wolves come out of the walls, “It’s all over.” Lucy’s wiser than that too. (She also knows her pig puppet is someone real you can talk to unlike her parents, so there’s one more reason she’s wise!)




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If we relate this book to fears, other fears, the message is solid. Sometimes fears are real, but they may not pose the threat we think. We may be able to tolerate them. Even overcome them. Even if they are wolves in the walls.



The details make this great too. Lucy’s father is a tuba player. The mother makes jam. Lucy’s animal friend is a pig puppet (as in, the three little pigs and the wolf!). And when the wolves get hold of that berry jam, red like blood, the result is ferociously unsettling.




The ending, which I won’t give away, is one more detail to consider. It has to do with Lucy knowing a new thing and what she’ll choose to do with knowing it. It’s as original as the rest.




3 Responses to wolves in the walls

  1. I LOVE Gaiman’s work, and McKean has some serious illustrating chops.

  2. Looks pretty interesting, but a bit scary for me.

  3. Bonnie Eng says:

    Wow, this is definitely the scariest picture book I’ve ever seen…very powerful imagery!

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