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The Wolves in the Walls [Hardcover]

Neil Gaiman , Dave McKean
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1 2005

Lucy hears sneaking, creeping,crumpling noisescoming from insidethe walls.

She is sure there arewolves living in the wallsof her house.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From Amazon

Truth be told, Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's picture book The Wolves in the Walls is terrifying. Sure, the story is fairytale-like and presented in a jaunty, casually nonsensical way, but it is absolutely the stuff of nightmares. Lucy hears wolves hustling, bustling, crinkling and crackling in the walls of the old house where her family lives, but no one believes her. Her mother says it's mice, her brother says bats, and her father says what everyone seems to say: "If the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over." Lucy remains convinced, as is her beloved pig-puppet, and her worst fears are confirmed when the wolves actually do come out of the walls.

Up to this point, McKean's illustrations are spectacular, sinister collages awash in golden sepia tones evocative of the creepy beauty in The City of Lost Children. The wolves explode into the story in scratchy pen-and-ink, all jaws and eyes. The family flees to the cold, moonlit garden, where they ponder their future. Her brother suggests they escape to outer space where there's "nothing but foozles and squossucks for billions of miles". Lucy wants to live in her own house...and she wants the pig-puppet she left behind.

Eventually she talks her family into moving back into the once-wolfish walls, where they peek out at the wolves who are watching their television and spilling popcorn on slices of toast and jam, dashing up the stairs and wearing their clothes. When the family can't stand it anymore, they burst forth from the walls, scaring the wolves, who shout "And when the people come out of the walls, it's all over!" The wolves flee and everything goes back to normal...until the tidy ending when Lucy hears "a noise that sounded exactly like an elephant trying not to sneeze". Adult fans of this talented pair will revel in the quirky story and its darkly gorgeous, deliciously shadowy trappings, but the young or faint of heart, beware. The book is recommended for ages nine and above. --Karin Snelson, Amazon.com --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-4-Lucy hears sounds in her house and is certain that the "sneaking, creeping, crumpling" noises coming from inside the walls are wolves. Her parents and her brother know "if the wolves come out-, it's all over," and no one believes that the creatures are there-until they come out. Then the family flees, taking refuge outside. It is Lucy who bravely returns to rescue her pig puppet and who talks the others into forcing the animals to leave. Gaiman and McKean deftly pair text and illustrations to convey a strange, vivid story evolving from a child's worst, credible fear upon hearing a house creak and groan. Glowing eyes and expressive faces convey the imminent danger. This rather lengthy picture book displays the striking characteristics of a graphic novel: numerous four-panel pages opening into spreads that include painted people; scratchy ink-lined wolves; and photographed, computer-manipulated images. Children will delight in the "scary, creepy tone" and in the brave behavior displayed by the intrepid young heroine.
Marian Creamer, Children's Literature Alive, Portland, OR
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! Oct. 10 2003
I discovered Neil Gaiman in the airport bookstore on a recent business trip. I became a convert after reading the first few pages of "American Gods". What a delight it was to find that my newest, favoritest author also writes children's books. ...
Parents beware, this book is scarier for adults than it is for kids. Adults remember the things that scared them at night, in a distorted sort of way. Creatures living in the walls seems to be one of those things that might have given us nightmares when we were kids. However, for me, the scariest part wasn't the wolves themselves, but the unsettling notion that there was so much space behind the walls. What other things might live in the invisible spaces of our homes? <Shiver....>
Despite my own perspective of the story, my ... son admires Lucy's courage. You see, you cannot tell a story about overcoming your fears without the idea of "fear" itself. WitW delivers just enough fear to compel the reader. The ending is light-hearted and fun, so make sure your children read the book to its completion.
The illustrations are top-notch and really compliment the mood of the story well. They are a little unsettling, to be sure, but I also remember how I loved the terrifying illustrations in "Where the Wild Thigs Are" as a child.
Creepy, funny, and heroic, WitW is destined to become a classic picture book. ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars The noises were coming from inside the walls Feb. 22 2014
The world of Neil Gaiman is a weird, unsettling, whimsical place where strange things are lurking just under the surface... and yes, that includes his kids' books. "The Wolves in the Walls" is a perfect example, which mingles Gaiman's slightly eerie storytelling with Dave McKean's equally eerie artwork. It's a perfect story for kids with slightly dark tastes.

Lucy can hear noises coming from inside the walls -- "They were hustling noises and bustling noises. They were crinkling noises and crackling noises." She tries to tell her mother, brother and father, but her mother dismisses the idea that there are wolves inside the walls. After all, "if the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over." So they claim that the noises are mice, rats and bats.

But as time goes on, Lucy continues to hear the wolves "clawing and gnawing, nibbling and squabbling," and feels eyes watching her. And one night, the wolves rip out of the walls, sending Lucy's family running out into the night. And it turns out that wolves are very poorly behaved...

"The Wolves in the Walls" starts out as a very creepy, almost horrific story, with wolves inside the walls and eyes staring from knotholes. But Gaiman's puckish sense of humor comes out in the second half, which shows that the wolves aren't quite as scary as we initially thought. They seem more interested in being the most obnoxious squatters that a G-rated book can show.

And while the story is aimed at children, Gaiman injects some little jokes that seem aimed more at adults ("'What?' said the Queen of Melanesia, who had dropped by to help with the gardening").

Dave McKean's artwork perfectly suits the story as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible for Reading Aloud July 21 2013
This book could not be better for reading aloud with an audience of children. The varied characters make coming up with voices oddly simple, and the wide-eyes and gasps from the kids makes it completely worthwhile, even if it's not normally your thing. (My reading was to a group of cousins last Halloween. Amazing.)

And if the parents think the book is too scary (sigh), don't hesitate to skip ahead and show them the lesson: That fears are made to be overcome. Not only that, but the artwork is a beautiful combination of illustrations and photos (not sure what it's called).

Great book, from an always-amazing author, Neil Gaiman.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaiman and McKean spin another exciting tale Aug. 20 2003
Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. Often working in the realms of science fiction and fantasy in his writing for "adults," Gaiman has successfully carried his creativity, masterful storytelling, respect for his audience, and of course, his charming British wit, into his children's stories. Following "The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish," and "Coraline," Gaiman brings children and adults alike an adventurous tale in "The Wolves in the Walls."
Our heroine, Lucy, is convinced that wolves live in the walls of her house. Her mum, dad, and brother brush off her assertions, until the wolves finally come out. Driven from the house, Lucy takes it upon herself to solve her family's dilemma.
The best thing about Neil Gaiman as a children's author is his clear respect for kids. He knows kids aren't stupid, and his stories make children the heroes, using their unique point of view to conquer their own fears and rescue their loved ones. Lucy in "Wolves" is no exception: she's definitely a kid - she consults with her pig puppet frequently - but she's not helpless - she saves the day in the end.
Gaiman's longtime collaborator, Dave McKean, makes this story truly special. His unique artistic notions have made him famous in the comic book world (especially for his cover art for Gaiman's "Sandman" series) and his work in "Wolves," covering a wide range of styles, makes this story visually exciting.
The vivid story and art might scare the youngest of children, but nobody is put in real danger, and most children (and adults, too!) will find this exciting tale a pleasure to read aloud.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Visual feast!
Neil Gaiman writes wonderful books for children with very sophisticated illustrations that I love! He uses many different art techniques, photo montages, collages, pen-and-ink... Read more
Published on April 5 2009 by Sue Hirst
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary & Funny
Lucy is scared, she hears wolves in the walls but her family doesn't believe her. Each one suggests what it might be and then says anyways if it was wolves "then it's all over". Read more
Published on Feb. 17 2009 by Nicola Mansfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucy is a character every reader will love.
Lucy knows that there are wolves living in the walls of her house. She can hear them hustling and bustling, creeping and crumpling. Read more
Published on July 1 2004 by KidsReads
5.0 out of 5 stars Seal of approval
Wolves in the Walls is what is called a sophisticated picture book- one that appeals to readers who think they're too old or too cool for picture books. Read more
Published on May 29 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Being Stalked
Neil Gaiman writes really spooky kid's books. If you like stories that make you see things in your peripheral vision in the dark shadows of your room at night, he's the man to look... Read more
Published on April 19 2004 by Michael J. Vuolo
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthy for the artwork alone
Gaiman and McKean team up once again on yet another highly stylish, atmospheric children's offering with "The Wolves in the Walls. Read more
Published on April 14 2004 by Sibelius
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a really creepy book and I like creepy books
Whitney Wolves in the Walls
By Neil Gaiman
I would rate this book a four stars.
If you like creepy things this book is for you. Read more
Published on April 7 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars I love the illustrations!
The wolves in the walls
This author and illustrator make a great team!
I rate this book three stars because... Read more
Published on April 7 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars I love the pictures!
The wolves in the walls
If you like scary and funny book's this the perfect book for you
I liked it because it is funny and scary
When I read this book I liked it... Read more
Published on April 6 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!!!
Ok let's get started. Five stars for Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman Because after I read this book I was laughing my head off! Read more
Published on April 5 2004
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