I need to make a disclaimer right off the bat. I was an English major in college, and I am a total literature nerd. I loved Virgina Woolf from the moment I encountered her in my modern British lit class, so I am predisposed to love any picture book based on the writer’s childhood.
Kyo Maclear’s “Virgina Wolf,” however, is not just for bookish types. Any child–or adult–who has ever fallen into a dark and surly funk will appreciate this tale. Very loosely based on Woolf’s relationship with her painter sister Vanessa, this story opens with Virginia in a “wolfish” mood–growling, howling and acting very strange. Mostly black and white illustrations and wild text mirror her dim emotions. Vanessa tries everything she can think of to make Virginia happy, but nothing seems to work until she paints a brightly colored fantasy world to cheer and charm her sister. The wolf is transformed back into a little girl by the power of creativity and imagination, and the illustrations become bright and inventive.
If you or your child has ever felt a little wolfish, check out this lovely and lively tale.