What to do with a Wolfish mood: Build a glad-day box


When my child is blue, sometimes it seems there is nothing I can do. I want to hug her pain away, but it doesn’t always work that way. How do you chase that wolf away, so you can all go out and play? Thank goodness, there are some simple things that you can do, to make better a day that is blue.

My little rhyme is inspired by an artful new picture book designed to help your child recognize — and resolve — their sad, mad, bad days.


Virginia Wolf (Kids Can Press, 2012) is an award-winning picture book written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. It is thoughtful, intelligent and beautiful. It is one of those rare books that speaks to children and adults alike, perhaps because it is loosely based on the real-life story of two beloved artists: Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell (whom used art to lift her sister’s mood).


In the book, Virginia wakes up in a wolfish mood.


Vanessa tries to cheer her sister up. But nothing seems to work. She is howling and growling and scaring everyone away.


Then Virginia tells Vanessa about an imaginary, perfect place called “Bloomsberry”. Vanessa begins to paint Bloomsberry on the bedroom walls, transforming them into a beautiful garden complete with a ladder and swing “so that what was down could climb up.”


The book ends on a happy note: “Now let’s go outside and play.”

On her book tour, Maclear made some great suggestions on how to make a bad mood go away (note to publisher: I would have liked to see these projects outlined in the book).

  • “Glad-day box”: You can create a tool kit full of reminders of the things that make you happy. Draw pictures or write a list of your happy-making things, people, places.
  • “Bloomsberry Mural”: Maclear works with schools to create murals, in which children imagine and illustrate a garden full of mood-lifting activities, mementoes and people. This stands as a positive visual reminder in the classroom. You could do the same at home.


My glad-day box would include:

What would you put in your glad-day box?

Here is the lovely book trailer for Virginia Wolf:


  1. I love the drawing for waking up feeling wolfish with just those wolf ears sticking out from under the covers. That’s usually how I feel on Monday mornings! I think you covered everything I’d put in my glad-day box. I’d probably have to try to stuff the ocean in there too.

    • Ha ha!! Yes, I think the illustrator really nailed that image and feeling. And yes, the ocean. If I could live anywhere it would be near water. There are so many things that can lift the spirits…I guess that’s a good thing!

  2. How wonderful: I read this book! I love reading children books and this one is an absolute gem!
    And seeing your other remedies for a Wolfish Mood, makes me think we are kindred spirits;0)

    • Oh, what a lovely comment! And I am so glad that this book is being widely read. My list of remedies for a bad day is very long…I just put in a few favourites…I could add that reading your blog is something that makes me happy too!

  3. I’ve never read it but I think I will have to get it. I have a couple of little girls who might benefit from the ideas in this book.

  4. I hope you are saving all these articles on paper for sarah, as i know they are for her, when she is older she will appreciate how much you love her. mom

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