“A mother and daughter’s transformation into wolves provides a creative take on how to cope with feelings”
It was one of those days for Maggie when nothing seemed to be going quite right—”the sky was too blue,” “all the squiggles were too squiggly,” and “the pajamas were the wrong kind of pajamas.” When Maggie decides the moon is too bright for sleeping, things come to a head and “Maggie almost explode(s),” as does her mother. After her two front teeth fall out (one more reason to hate the day), however, Maggie discovers that the little fangs growing back in their place have her feeling a little “wolfish” and goes outside to exhibit her newfound nature. Mom finds herself feeling a little wolfish as well, and lets out a howl that 1) impresses Maggie, and 2) brings them together for an totally unexpected bonding session as wolves as they howl, dance, and use their heightened wolf senses to appreciate the world around them. The message about how to cope with frustration seems to be a deliberate mindfulness with a release of emotions that’s a mix of calm (smelling and listening to the world, breathing) and explosion (running, dancing and howling). A gorgeous color palette combined with illustrations with very deliberately visible sketch strokes perfectly match the tone of the story—fun, quirky and completely unique.
Howl is a masterfully told and exquisitely drawn story of a young girl's way of expressing and resolving big feelings.
Maggie has had a very bad day.
First of all, the sun was the wrong shape, in a sky that was too blue. The spaghetti was too long, and her pajamas were the wrong kind of pajama.
Then Maggie begins to have wolfish thoughts ...
Kat Patrick recently realized she never actually grew up, and so has been trying to make a living as a writer ever since. Originally from the UK, she has written her way around the world, and after stints in New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Paris and Patagonia, she is now based in Glasgow.