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THE WOLVES IN THE WALLS by Neil Gaiman Kirkus Star


by Neil Gaiman & illustrated by Dave McKean

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-380-97827-X
Publisher: HarperCollins

You know what they say: “If the wolves come out of the walls, it’s all over.” When Lucy hears wolves crinkling, crackling, sneaking, creeping, and crumpling in the walls, she futilely attempts to warn her family. Once out of the walls, the wolves proceed to dance “wolfish dances up the stairs and down again” until Lucy, with the help of her stalwart pig-puppet, decides that enough is enough, and leads her family back—into the walls. Gaiman does here for the older picture-book set what he did for middle-grade readers with last year’s Coraline, crafting a tale of surreal and sinister adversaries who are bested by a young girl’s determination to set her world to rights. The slyly deadpan text, rich in language and wordplay, never doubts Lucy’s capacity to manage the chaos, but McKean’s illustrations are something else again, their mixed-media creepiness giving the lie to the publisher’s disingenuous “all ages” designation and marking it clearly as not for the faint of heart. (Picture book. 7-10)