Wemberly the mouse worries about everything: big things, like whether her parents might disappear in the middle of the night; little things, like whether she'll spill grape juice on her toy rabbit, Petal; and things in between, like whether she might shrink in the bathtub. What she is more worried about than anything else, however, is her first day at the New Morning Nursery School: "What if no one else has spots? What if no one else wears stripes? What if no one else brings a doll? What if the teacher is mean? What if the room smells bad?" Happily, Miss Peachum introduces her to a kindred spirit right away. Jewel doesn't have spots, but she is wearing stripes and
holding a doll. As Wemberly plays with her new friend, she still worries, but no more than usual. ("And sometimes even less.")
Kevin Henkes, well-loved creator of the award-winning Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, gets to the heart of a child's feelings like no one else can. Young worrywarts (and their parents) will see themselves in Wemberly, and be relieved that she, too, worries about playground equipment ("Too rusty. Too loose. Too high."), sure-to-be-inhabited cracks in the wall, whether she will be the only butterfly in the Halloween parade, and, of course, whether school will be dreadful in every way. Henkes's Lilly-style illustrations are sweet, expressive, and loaded with funny, inventive details that invite close perusal with every reading. (Wemberly's roller-blading grandma, for example, is wearing a T-shirt that says "Go with the flow.") We're not worried about whether this book will become a classic--it will! (Ages 4 to 8) --Karin Snelson
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From Publishers Weekly
Henkes (Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse) introduces another wonderfully appealing child-mouse with a stubborn habit: worrying. Wemberly, a shy white mouse with gray spots, always feels nervous whether at home or away. "At the playground, Wemberly worried about/ the chains on the swings,/ and the bolts on the slide,/ and the bars on the jungle gym." She tells her father, "Too rusty. Too loose. Too high," while sitting on a park bench watching the other mice play. Her security blanket, a rabbit doll named Petal (whose spot over the left eye matches her own), rarely leaves her grip. Henkes adroitly juggles the main narrative, hand-lettered asides and watercolor-and-ink imagery of the young pessimist and her supportive parents; each element contributes a different strength. For instance, as he lists Wemberly's worries, "Big things" heads the list, paired with a vignette of the heroine checking on her parents in the middle of the night with a flashlight, "I wanted to make sure you were still here." He later shows how Wemberly's anxieties peak at the start of nursery school with huge text that dwarfs tiny illustrations. At this overwhelming moment, Wemberly meets another girl mouse, Jewel, who turns out to be a kindred spirit (she even carries her own worn doll). Henkes offers no pat solutions, handling the material with uncanny empathy and gentleness; while playing with Jewel, "Wemberly worried. But no more than usual. And sometimes even less." This winning heroine speaks to the worrywart in everyone. Ages 4-up.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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