Suspense, mystery and frights aplenty in a unique picture book about a young girl who faces terrifying wolves so that she can put things back to the way they were.
No-one except Lucy pays much attention to the noises coming from inside the walls of the house. Her mother is too busy in the kitchen, her father is out at work and her brother is engrossed in his video game. But Lucy hears the noises. She hears every single hustle and bustle, crinkle and crackle, creep and crumple. Lucy knows the only explanation for the noises coming from behind the walls are wolves. But why won’t anyone in her family believe her? They all think that there must be a far more reasonable explanation for the weird sounds. Not only will her family not believe her, they also keep telling her that if the wolves come out of the walls then it is all over - whatever that means. But when the fateful night arrives and the wolves make their appearance things are far from over, in fact, they are only just beginning as Lucy wages war against the wolves and vows to reclaim the family home…
The Wolves in the Walls is a picture book for older readers that is genuinely scary. Terrifying noises coming from the walls, check. Family members that try to make the problem sound as if it is nothing to worry about, check. Frightening beasts that force the family to hastily escape in the middle of the night, check. Haunting and creepy images, check. Yes, Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean have come up with quite the fright fest and readers will need to muster up bravery, courage and some of Lucy’s fearless resolve to make it through to the end.
Gaiman’s narrative ramps up the tension from the first page and the use of different fonts adds to the atmosphere. McKean’s artwork is wonderfully weird. Using a variety of techniques he manages to make everything look rather sinister, ominous and scary. Probably best not to read it just before bedtime, particularly if you live in a house that has a tendency to make the odd unwelcome noise or two.
Recommended for 9+.