________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 20 . . . . May 29, 2009

cover Wenda the Wacky Wiggler. (The Rainbow Collection).

Christopher Aslan. Illustrated by Emily Mullock.
Vancouver, BC: Benjamin Brown Books, 2008.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-0-9782553-2-9.

Subject Headings:
Music-Juvenile fiction.
Dance-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

* /4

excerpt:

Benjamin Brown Books is new small Vancouver-based publisher. The website states that they are "excited to be presenting a series of heartfelt picture books [which] encompass universal themes such as facing fears or doubts, trusting ourselves, and the celebration of our self and others."

Wenda the Wacky Wiggler is Aslan's second book published by Benjamin Brown (the first was Lilly and Lucy's Shadow). It is a story told in verse about lively Wenda whose joy in moving herself is lost on the crabby townspeople she meets. She does her best to change their minds by hopping, swaying and tapping her feet. Put off her stride when the bird whose song has provided her beat is captured in an effort to bring all of this to a halt, she finds that she still can't help wiggling. Of course, her irrepressible spirit finally does make a difference, and her example wins over the others, even the crusty, top-hatted mayor.

This book is well-meaning and definitely has a message, as the mission statement of the company expresses, but it is a clunker. Some of the grammar is awkward, and the verses don't always rhyme well.

internal art

"Humph!" said the mayor. It's finally stopped.

Wenda slumped to the ground, she felt like a rock.

and

One by one the people's hearts lit up

(and the bird was freed from the animal truck).

Sometimes it doesn't even seem to make sense.

Wenda started to move like she always did,

And laughed out loud like a little kid.

(I thought she was a little kid!)

    Commercial artist Emily Mullock does her best to make us feel Wenda's joy with warm colour and heavily modeled human figures of odd proportion. But even the quirky background details can't save this project.

Not Recommended.

Ellen Heaney is the Head of Children's Services at the New Westminster Public Library, New Westminster, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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