children's books, children's poetry, stuffed animals

Review: The Woolyhoodwinks vs. the Dark Patch

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If you like Shel Silverstein or Edward Lear, then chances are you are already familiar with The WoolyhoodwinksThey’re five characters named Ozard, Ludic, Reddy, Junco, and Fluke, who live in The Great North Woods. In The Woollyhoodwinks: vs. The Dark Patch, their world is changed when a piece of the sky falls down and the dark patch it creates begins to consume their tranquil existence.

Each wink has a different dominant characteristic, and even though the story is simple, you can see how that characteristic can be a bad thing or a good thing depending on how it is acted or not acted upon. It is the traits of the Winks and their responses to the dark patch that drive the story. Ozard approaches things scientifically, Ludic is a bard, Reddy has some peculiar multiple personality issues, Junco has an obsessive focus on things and Fluke is afraid of the dark. There is certainly something for a wide variety of children to identify with.

This book is highly stylized in terms of both illustration and narrative. It is a carefully worded story, and introduced my son to a nonsensical style of speech that I’m not sure he was quite ready for. For example:

    So sunsets begin, sparkles dim, and dusk calls the curtain.

In the opening line and in much of the story, I could hear the voice of the great Frank Oz. Though it was also filled with many beautiful turns of phrase and was certainly a lyrical joy to read aloud:

    So the space between yesterday and tomorrow is now, and the Woolyhoodwinks fall… one wink… five winks… ten winks… asleep.

The artwork in the book is perhaps my favorite thing of all, a blend of traditional illustration and fabric crafts that have been photo-shopped in. It has a warmth and depth to it that I find very appealing. I have a huge addiction to crafting and  that this story is born from five hand made stuffies is really inspiring to me, as a crafter, writer and mother.

How many times have I created stories based on my son’s friends? Here one has actually been brought to life.


For so many reasons I wanted to love this book and yet I found it to be on the other side of odd, reminiscent of some of the great oddities in children’s fiction, but not quite making the mark.

From my son’s perspective, however, it was wonderful. He found both the story and the artwork to be absolutely riveting. He consistently requests it at night and even points to things when out hiking as comparisons to things in this book. If it engages him and prompts him into making connections with everyday occurrences. I’d say we have a winner, no matter how odd his mother finds it!

I was provided with a copy of this book for review purposes.

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