Wolves in the Walls Review – Publishers Weekly

With many thanks to Gwynedd for forwarding the full text!

Publishers Weekly June 30, 2003
PWForcasts, Picture Books, page 77
Starred review

THE WOLVES IN THE WALLS
NEIL GAIMAN, ILLUS. BY DAVE MCKEAN.
HarperCollins, $16.99 (56p) ISBN 0-380-97827-X

“If the wolves come out of the walls, it’s all over,” is the oft-repeated prediction in Gaiman’s latest, a picture book that cleverly balances humor and spookiness in a slightly off-kilter setting. As he did in his novel _Coraline_, the author again introduces an inquisitive girl who lives in a creepy old house with her distracted family. When Lucy hears “squeaking, creeping, crumbling noises” from inside the house’s walls, she’s convinced it must be wolves. Lucy’s parents and younger brother, who don’t share Lucy’s sharply attuned ear, but have heard bad things about wolves in people’s walls, insist any noise must be emanating from something more logical, like rats or mice. But when Lucy’s hunch comes true, the family flees — until brave, determined Lucy hatches a plan to turn the tables. Gaiman’s text rings with energetic confidence as he leads readers into a bizarre and potentially spine-tingling scenario. McKean (who previously collaborated with Gaiman on the Sandman comics and _The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish_) expertly matches the tale’s funny-scary mood. Lucy shines as a heroine, standing tall among somewhat tuned-out supporting characters that are an inventive mixture of ordinary and odd. Against shadow-filled backdrops that blend paint, digital manipulation and photography, his stylized human figures look right at home. His pen-and-inks of the wolves, often with a judicious dash of color, suggest they inhabit a world apart — or prehaps unreal? Author and artist credit their audience with the intelligence to puzzle out the question for themselves. All ages. (Aug.)

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Gwynedd also notes that Neil is quoted as part of Heidi MacDonald’s piece on Comic Con in yesterday’s Publishers Weekly

Peck, peck, peck.