WolfWalkers: The Graphic Novel

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
WolfWalkers: The Graphic Novel Book Poster Image
Daring Irish girls use magic to save wolves in lively tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

WolfWalkers is set in Ireland during the English Civil War and features an Oliver Cromwell-like minor character. Needless to say, the portrayal is not historically accurate.

Positive Messages

People shouldn't fear what they don't understand. Nature and humankind can live in harmony.

Positive Role Models

Robyn is a lively and inquisitive English girl who disregards her father's orders to stay safely in town. Mebh is a wild, red-headed Irish girl who runs with the wolves. Both are brave and resourceful, with Mebh the more impulsive of the two.

Language

A half-dozen uses of "damn" and "hell."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that WolfWalkers is a graphic adaptation of an animated film directed by Tomm Moore. Set in Ireland during the English Civil War in the early 1600s, the story involves two brave and daring girls. Robyne is a hunter's daughter, and Mebh is wolfwalker, turning into a wolf when she sleeps.  Wolves attack humans and bite them. Townspeople and soldiers threaten the wolves with cannons, swords, and crossbows. A villain falls from a great height. "Hell" and "damn" are used a half-dozen times.

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What's the story?

As WOLFWALKERS opens, young Robyn Goodfellowe finds herself forbidden by her father to visit the wolf-infested woods. The hunter's daughter slips anyhow and meets wolfwalker Mebh, whose mother is held prisoner in the castle. Robyn's father is ordered by Lord Protector Cromwell to exterminate every wolf on the island. When Robyn is bitten, she fears that she will turn into the thing her father dreads the most. Can she convince her father to spare her and her wolfish friends?

Is it any good?

Adaptations of animated films can make for involving graphic novels, and this lively tale of Irish girls who commune with wolves captures the cinematic magic of the source. Oscar-winner Tomm Moore and co-creator Ross Stewart devise a historical tale that's full of action for two take-charge little girls. Robyn is the more controlled of the two, and Mebh is full of exuberant energy. The artwork is sumptuous and eye-catching, if unfortunately cramped on some of the pages. Sam Sattin's story choices as the adaptor seem sound, and the narrative offers plenty of chances for Robyn and Mebh to prove their bravery as both humans and animals. WolfWalkers is a winner for a wide range of readers, especially those interested in animation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how WolfWalkers uses Irish folklore to tell a cinematic story. Why do myth and folklore continue to inspire art and entertainment?

  • WolfWalkers is an adaptation of an animated motion picture. What kinds of effects are available in a graphic novel that aren't possible in a comic?

  • Why are Cromwell and the townspeople so afraid of the wolves? How do real-life wolves interact with people? Why do people fear what they don't understand?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love graphic novels and fantasy

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