Monday, September 29, 2014

Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear

Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear
Virginia Wolf
by Kyo Maclear
illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Picture Book
March 2012 

Book Jacket Summary
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?

My Thoughts
A broken alarm clock is lying on the ground and is a sign of things to come in Virginia Wolf. Virginia wakes up "wolfish" with growls and grumpy behavior according to her sister Vanessa. Everything annoys Virginia; friends, family, birds, and paintings. Vanessa is trying to cheer her out of the doldrums but nothing seems to help. Until Vanessa learns of the place called Bloomsberry where everything is perfect. She paints the walls to match Virginia's description of blossoms and gardens.

This was an amazing book because it has many layers. At first it is a little girl trying to cheer up her sister but on further reading it is about depression and how it affects those around us. The real relationship between Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell is depicted in this story. You can see Virginia as the blacked out wolf on the cover and in the book she is the same. The pictures become duller as Virginia bosses and yells as Vanessa but become brighter as Vanessa paints a new world. It pulls Virginia out enough to turn her back into a real girl. Gone is her wolfish snout and tail. What remains is a bow that used to be ears and a smile. Arsenault uses such imagery to show Virginia's depressive state with howling and hiding under blankets. 

This is a very interesting book and I am glad I picked it up. The cover was intriguing and I wanted to know if it was indeed about Virginia Woolf despite the different spelling. I highly recommend it and going to the authors webpage to read her personal note.

Book Pairings
Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear
Migrant by Maxine Trottier
Jan, the Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt


1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a lovely book for children. My son is not old enough to understand, but I am starting his library early.


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