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review 2020-10-11 23:19
Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault
Virginia Wolf - Isabelle Arsenault,Kyo Maclear

I adore this short picture book! The artwork, characters, and story is charming. The relationship between the two sisters is absolutely adorable. You can tell they care for one another and want to be there for each other when life gets hard. I love how this book encouraged kids to dive into their imagination if ever they feel depressed because they may find the happiness they are seeking. As someone who constantly daydreams of one day going to a place not of this realm, I related to Virginia so much. I, too, dream of my own perfect world. And if we continue to search for it, through art or writing or any other creative outlets, we may one day find our Home.


This book is absolutely beautiful. I encourage you to pick it up! It's short but has a lovely message and beautiful artwork to go with it! Anyone can pick up this picture book and find enjoyment in it. May also encourage you look explore your imagination again in case you've been focusing too much on Reality. It's a great book!

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review 2016-02-13 16:08
Virginia Wolf
Virginia Wolf - Isabelle Arsenault,Kyo Maclear

As always with children's books, I make the disclaimer that I have no idea if the book is any use with children.

However, I thought the story of Virginia as told by her sister was charming and found a compassionate way of telling children about moods and people who may be affected by them.


The characters are obviously based on Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell, which made me wonder whether the book tries to introduce the topic of depression but I think that was just my own association with the characters. The story itself stays at a more general level.


There is a nice twist to the illustrations at the end.

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review 2015-09-13 09:21
Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear
Virginia Wolf - Isabelle Arsenault,Kyo Maclear

I like myself a nice picture book every once and a while, and this one was really cute. 

I don't really know that much about Virginia Woolf herself, but I know enough to know that little girl this book is about is based off her, loosely.


Virginia is in a "wolfish" mood. This means she howl, growls, snaps at people, and sleeps in bed a lot, hiding away. She is depicted by a mere black shadow of a wolf throughout the book, in contrast with her surroundings. Vanessa, her sister, is cheery. She dresses in yellow and she loves to paint. All she wants to do is cheer up her sister, but nothing ever seems to work. 

Vanessa does't give up easily, she is very persistent. When her brooding sister lets slip her dream of a magical world in which she thinks she could be happy, she decides to make her dreams reality. With paint and a brush, she starts painting on the walls, and takes them both to Bloomsberry in hopes to bring her happy sister back again.


The colors in this were beautiful and soft, and everything when Virginia is sad is in black and white and grey. It was fun to read, put a smile on my face. I love that art was something that brought back the joy and cheer and hope in the story, the loving sisters, and the depiction of a really, really bad day with just shapes and colors.

I may also be over stepping the line of what kind of a bad day this books shows, but the fact that Virginia Woolf was who the story is based on, it also says something for depression and what it looks like. Though described lightly and more relatably here (this is a kid's book after all), I thought this was quite perfect, though less magically and quickly cured in real life. Still puts a smile on my face.

To read when you feel gloomy.

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review 2014-10-01 14:33
Jane, the Fox, and Me
Jane, the Fox, and Me - Fanny Britt, Isabelle Arsenault (Illustrator), Susan Ouriou (Translator), Christine Morelli (Translator)

That title, that cover?  How can you not be intrigued? 


This is a strange and melancholy sort of book, but also unique and very memorable. 


Helene is a lonely little girl who has recently run afoul of the queen bees at her school.  The book implies that Helene used to be part of their group, but now she spends her days fielding their cruel little insults about her weight.  Any person with two good eyes will quickly see the disconnect between their taunts and Helene's actual size.  But none of that matters because Helene believes it to be true to her very core simply because they say it is so.


Helene's loneliness has caused her to retreat into the world of books - specifically Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (with two little dots over the 'e', Helene points out).  Helene finds a somewhat kindred spirit in Jane - someone, in her mind, equally lonely, misunderstood and put upon.  And that's really all I should say because the rest is best left discovered by the reader.


The illustrations are breathtaking. Anyone who is or was a lonely little girl will be deeply moved.  Highly recommended!

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review 2013-10-26 00:00
Once Upon a Northern Night - Jean E. Pendziwol,Isabelle Arsenault The use of language in this book is exquisite! This book transported me to Switzerland and log cabins----and you just stare at this snow covered land in marvelous wonder. The pictures were done----and even the space of the words within the large white paces enhanced the beauty of the book.
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