Loosely based on the relationship between the sisters who grew up to be painter Vanessa Bell & writer Virginia Woolf, this unusual (and unusually lovely) picture book imagines a day in which Virginia "wakes up feeling wolfish", and Vanessa tries with all her might to surround her sister with beauty.
Vanessa makes her a garden, full of real and imagined flowers, pink-eyed rabbits, and good things to eat.
This book went straight to my heart for a few reasons: I went through the throes of a serious Virginia Woolf phase in college and I have been prone to pretty profound bouts of the blues at times. How could I imagine the likelihood of a picture book book about either, let alone both? And stitched above the rather serious underpinnings of the story, there is a lively, adorable little book : "The Wolfish" Virginia is perfect, with her little snoot and ears, and the fresh, bright colors mingle with sooty black lines and crisp white so nicely.
For further reading, this interview with Kyo Maclear talks about the beginnings of the book (I love hearing about book beginnings!)
There is also this extremely endearing book trailer, if you'd like a little sound & movement with your preview of Virginia & Vanessa's tale:
One of those things that makes a person hopeful - about the continued delight and ingenuity of illustrated books, but in the bigger, larger sense, too.