Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Wolves in the Walls

Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Dave McKean
Publisher: Bloomsbury
RRP: £5.99

    Lucy hears noises coming from the walls of her house and her claims that wolves are living in the walls are quashed by the other members of her family.  That is until wolves do suddenly burst from the walls of their home and take over.  The family are forced to flee to the bottom of the garden and Lucy tries to come up with a plan to get back their house. 

      This is a picture book like few others.  Aimed at older readers the images are dark and sinister and the plot gradually builds a sense of imminent dread which is suddenly released with a barrage of humour.  The art works within the book are stunning, a blend of collage, paint, photography and drawing create an eerie and unique feel to the book.  There are lots of hidden details etched on the walls of the house which add another dimension to the images created.  The storyline is highly original and the references, jokes and familiar family characters all add to the appeal of older readers of all abilities.  The character of Lucy is strong willed and relentless, children I have read the book with find it funny how submissive and weak her parents are portrayed.  Although there are some notable features of common picture books, such as the repetitive phrases and the use of font size to add emphasis, this is no fairytale.  There is no knight in shining armour.  Instead the book screams to me “If you want something, go get it!”

    I have read this book with several classes of children and every time it has been a huge hit.  I have great fun building up the suspense and horror elements and really going to town with the humour, the kids all end up enthralled and/or in hysterics.  Some reluctant readers have even asked if they could borrow it to read themselves.  This in itself speaks volumes.  Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean have completed several books together and although this is my favourite, they are all well worth exploring.

Rating: 10/10