Skip to main content

Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner







I am SO excited to be reviewing David Wiesner's new book Mr. Wuffles! for so many reasons! While this is my first stand alone review of one of Mr. Wiesner's incredible books, he was the inspiration for an article I wrote a few years ago, How to Read a Book Without Words (Out Loud), and has long (as in, before I had kids...) been a favorite of mine for his painterly, richly detailed style and his inimitably imaginative storytelling, which I think is even more challenging in the absence of words. Wiesner is one of two people to win THREE Caldecott Medals (Tuesday, 1992, The Three Pigs, 2002, and Flotsam, 2007) and two Caldecott Honors (Free Fall, 1989, and Sector 7, 2000.) This summer I had the gift of hearing Wiesner give a keynote talk at the 2013 SCBWI Annual Summer Conference where he talked about the process of creating Mr. Wuffles! which began in 1993 with this cover for the magazine Cricket.


Wiesner shares his creative process  for Mr. Wuffles! in images and words on his kid-friendly website. Wiesner has a second website that features his portfolio, which is worth checking out if you love his work as much as I do.


Originally, Wiesner started his story with the aliens in a sandbox being discovered by a girl, but couldn't figure out what crisis of their story would be. Ten years later and a few more failed iterations of the story and, in 2011 a drawing of a spaceship in his sketchbook tied it all together for Wiesner. And the crisis is clear almost from the start of the story. Mr. Wuffles is a discerning cat who has lost all interest in his toys, which still have the price tags on them, if he ever had any to begin with. But, there's something about that new toy with all the bumps on it...


Mr. Wuffles wants to play, but the aliens inside the new cat toy, I mean spaceship, need a part to repair it and escape.



The aliens get some help from an a surprising corner where they also find some ancient art that that helps them repair their ship and dodge Mr. Wuffles.

With his characteristic attention to detail, Wiesner creates a magical world that is grounded in reality, as he does with so many of his books. One moment you are on the floor with Mr. Wuffles as he bats his toy around, looking every bit the cat, then you are inside an alien spaceship and communicating in another language. One thing I especially love about Wiesner is that, if he is going to have aliens talking in one of his books, he is going to develop a language and consult a linguist who helps him to construct the alien speech. You can try to decode their language on their own or use the key that Wiesner provides on his website, below.




Hopefully in these paragraphs I have convinced you that the worlds that David Wiesner creates in his books are definitely worth visiting and revisiting. Flotsam, my favorite, is like opening a jewel box - you can stare at the beauty within it  for hours, over and over and be transported to other worlds at the same time. All of Wiesner's books do this in one way or another and if you've never read any of his books before, I'm a little bit jealous of you. I would love the chance to discover them all over again for the first time!








A few more of David Wiesner's books . . . I love them all, but my favorites are Flotsam, The Three Pigs, June 29, 1999 (I remember reading this book at story time at the bookstore on this very date!) and Tuesday.






Source: Review Copy









Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started books4yourkids.com in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …