Mr. Wuffles

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Book Information

Illustrator
Publisher
Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 2013
Curriculum
  • Character-Building Curriculum
  • Language Arts Curriculum

Disclaimer: I am NOT a cat person. So, when I saw the cat on the cover...the enormous cat... staring out at me with those disdainful yellow eyes, my heart sank. But David Wiesner gets a second chance for me. Always will. I opened up the cat book with dread.

Wow!!!! Oh my gosh!!! We are talking sheer genius yet again. I can't tell you how fabulous this book is. The cat is doing the usual cat things like ignoring all his toys. In fact, those toys are lined up in a graveyard where things not good enough for the cat lie fallow.... except for one toy....and what a toy it is.

The perspective shifts to inside that toy. It's a spaceship...yes, yes, it's a spaceship...and it's real and the little guys inside the ship..the aliens.. have landed and are talking in their unique language and have brought their movie camera to take pictures of us. Clearly this is a heroic and glorious moment in their civilization.

Enter Mr. Wuffles who has some other plans for the alien beings. These little green-headed intruders absolutely captured Mr. Wuffles' imagination and he is going to make the most of this wondrous good time. 

Now, I don't want to spoil the story. I will simply invite you to enter the world of some intelligent bugs, an historic Cheezit, cave drawings, the future of relationships between aliens and Earthly creatures and a pageturning adventure.

Jokester/Thrillseeking/PartyAnimial, WildThing, Investigator/Analyst and Answerman have a real champion in David Wiesner. This book will reach inside of them and give them hope. They are not alone on the planet. Someone does understand them, how they are wired and what they need to thrive. Woohooo and even I ... a Joan of Arc/Empath... get the wonder and the genius of watching this man's imagination blast off into the future, reach back into our primitive past, laugh at our present and generally give a veritable gift to young people who are bombarded by the message to fit into what Madison Avenue tells them to be and not to dare to simply be who they are with their unique brains and wonderful potential.

(Sorry about the soapbox there at the end.)

Ages 4-10 (really)    978- 0618756612  About 32 pages

Recommended by:  Barb

******

"One sweet dream, pick up the bags, and get in the limousine

Soon, we'll be away from here,

Step on the gas and wipe that tear away"

-- Lennon/McCartney, "You Never Give Me Your Money"

 

After reading and repeatedly re-reading it over a few days, I've been thinking obsessively about MR. WUFFLES! by David Wiesner.  And what I've now decided is that MR. WUFFLES! is Wiesner's Abbey Road.  

 

Go do an online search for the best albums of 1969.  What a year!  There are a bunch of other albums for which I know every word.  They were recorded by musicians and bands I still listen to all the time.  But there is no way that I can point to any one of them and say that it is as good as Abbey Road, either when comparing them note-for-note and word-by-word or comparing them as a whole.

 

That's how amazing this book is.

 

MR. WUFFLES! is a mostly-wordless story named after a cat by that name.  Mr. Wuffles turns his nose up at all of his toys until he finds one he likes, but it actually isn't one of his toys.  It is a tiny spacecraft that belongs to some little green beings donned in robes who have unwittingly set down in Mr. Wuffles' domain, clearly don't have a AAA card, and are soon having a truly terrible time of things because the cat begins batting their little vessel around (with them being bashed about inside it) as if it were a catnip mouse.  Exiting their vessel, and narrowly escaping the claws of Mr. Wuffles, the beings find their way through a hole in the wall into a behind-the-wall civilization of insects.  The history chronicled in pictures on the wall speaks to the insects' intelligence.  They break bread with these creatures, pose for photos together, and eventually bridge their language barrier to devise a cooperative plan for escaping with the assistance of their new friends.

 

"Oh yeah, all right,

Are you gonna be in my dreams tonight?"

 

MR. WUFFLES! is by far the strongest book, in terms of plot and character, that Wiesner has created to date.  And the friendship theme is just so near and dear to my heart.  And I just can't stop looking at this thing over and over again.  

 
Richie Partington, MLIS
Instructor, San Jose State University, California USA

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