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Virginia Wolf
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Virginia Wolf
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When Virginia wakes up feeling "wolfish," her sister, Vanessa, tries to cheer her up. After treats, funny faces and other efforts fail, Vanessa begins to paint a glorious mural depicting the world of...
When Virginia wakes up feeling "wolfish," her sister, Vanessa, tries to cheer her up. After treats, funny faces and other efforts fail, Vanessa begins to paint a glorious mural depicting the world of...
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Description-

  • When Virginia wakes up feeling "wolfish," her sister, Vanessa, tries to cheer her up. After treats, funny faces and other efforts fail, Vanessa begins to paint a glorious mural depicting the world of the sisters' imagination. Will it help lift Virginia from her doldrums?

About the Author-

  • Kyo Maclear is an award-winning writer and novelist. Her first book for children, Spork, has received a number of honors, including a 2011 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award nomination. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 16, 2012
    It’s not often that a writer-illustrator team conceives a second work so much more ambitious and complex than the first (in this case, 2010’s Spork), and rarer still to execute it so well. In an invented episode from Virginia Woolf’s depression-beset youth, young Vanessa Bell narrates the story of one of her sister’s bad spells, punning on Woolf’s adult surname: “She made wolf sounds and did strange things.” Virginia’s rages disrupt the entire household (“Up became down. Bright became dim”) until Virginia expresses a wish to fly to “a perfect place.... with frosted cakes and beautiful flowers.” “Where is that?” Vanessa asks. “Bloomsberry, of course,” Virginia answers. As Virginia sleeps, Vanessa paints “Bloomsberry” for her sister on endless sheets of drawing paper, remaking the world for her. Arsenault conveys the transformation by moving suddenly from b&w silhouettes to a swirling, multicolored fantasy of swings, cupcakes, and gigantic flowers. Some readers may be shaken by Virginia’s ferocity—it’s hard to soften madness—but Vanessa’s act of love is recounted with grace and sensitivity in this remarkable collaboration. Ages 4–8. Agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2012
    In the literary bounty of books about bad moods and bad days, this one goes deeper than most, poignantly showing literal and metaphorical glimpses of real depression. "One day my sister Virginia woke up feeling wolfish. She made wolf sounds and did strange things," begins narrator Vanessa. Huddled in bed, only pointy ears showing, is a wolf. Virginia's unable to bear the bright-yellow gingham of Vanessa's dress or the sound of Vanessa brushing her own teeth. This is potent misery: "The whole house sank. Up became down. Bright became dim." Vanessa creeps into bed to comfort her sister, but what finally helps is painting. At the wolf's suggestion, Vanessa paints a whimsical, expanding world called "Bloomsberry," bursting with blossoms, birds and magic. Arsenault reproduces the earlier "Up became down" spread but inverts its position and hue: Now objects waft upwards and the mood is buoyant. The wolf--previously a black near-silhouette with snout and tail, wearing a dress--morphs back into a girl. Wolf ears, silhouetted from behind, become a hair bow. Ink, pencil and paint deftly divide color from black-and-white as emotional symbolism. Lettering is carefully handwritten. Knowledge of Virginia Woolf and her painter-sister Vanessa Bell is unnecessary; this works beautifully as a bad-day/bad-mood or animal-transformation tale, while readers who know actual depression will find it handled with tenderly forceful aplomb. (Picture book. 5-10)

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from April 1, 2012

    PreS-Gr 2-Drawing inspiration from Virginia Woolf and her sister, Maclear tells the story of two siblings who share a strong bond and creative spirit despite their dissimilar personalities. When Virginia awakens in a wolfish mood, Vanessa uses her imagination to right the upside-down world. Through her wall paintings, she takes Virginia and readers out of the bad mood and into Bloomsberry, the perfect place. The wolfish mood is communicated not only through words ("Do not brush your teeth so loudly"), but also through the size and style of text. The louder Virginia howls, the larger and wilder the lettering becomes. As Vanessa's paintings develop, the wolf's silhouette changes into a girl wearing a hair bow. Gray shapes strewn across the pages settle down into the colorful and serene flowers of Bloomsberry. It is the delicacy of the mixed-media illustrations (ink, pencil, watercolor, gouache) that tames the feral Virginia and gives real strength to the story. Parents will enjoy sharing this book with their sometimes "wolfish" children.-Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    February 15, 2012
    Grades K-2 Young Virginia has awoken feeling wolfish, and she looks the part, too. No manner of comforting by her sister, Vanessa, can snap her out of it. The whole house sank. / Up became down. / Bright became dim. / Glad became gloom. Eventually, Virginia offers that she might be happy in a perfect place with frosted cakes and beautiful flowers and excellent trees to climb. So Vanessa sets to work creating the fantastical wonderland herself, painting colorful, bucolic scenes filled with candy flowers, turquoise birds, and more. Right in step with Maclear's elegant, affecting text, Arsenault's fetching mixed-media illustrations have a sophisticated yet homespun feel, featuring smudgy black silhouettes, expressive hand-lettered text, and plenty of sly visual detail. The story is inspired by real-life sisters Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, and though the little girl's doldrums do have a gravity that evinces the story's source material, the book is ultimately a feel-good celebration of the power of the imagination and art to create perfect places in the world when none can be found.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

Title Information+

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    Kids Can Press Ltd.
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