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Weslandia Paperback – August 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (August 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763610526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763610524
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 10.6 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What do the children you know usually do when school is out for the summer? Go crazy with boredom? Head poolside with friends? Plan a self-sufficient civilization with its own staple food crop? That is precisely how Wesley decides to spend his summer vacation. Wesley is not an ordinary boy: "He alone in his town disliked pizza and soda, alarming his mother and the school nurse. He found professional football stupid. He'd refused to shave half his head, the hairstyle worn by all the other boys, despite his father's bribe of five dollars." It all starts (the civilization, that is) when Wesley overturns a plot of ground in his yard to see what new and unknown seeds might blow into it. Curiously, just one kind of plant grows--an unusual, flowering, fruit-bearing plant that tastes of "peach, strawberry, pumpkin pie, and flavors he had no name for." Soon, Wesley is literally reaping the fruits of his labors--using the fruit rind to make a cup for the juice he squeezes, barbecuing the root tubers, and weaving the bark into a hat to keep off the sun.

In Wesley's new world, he no longer needs a watch because he uses a flower stalk as a sundial, dividing the day into 8 segments, one for each of the flower's petals. A new language (based on an 80-letter alphabet) and counting system (based on the number 8) soon follow. Ah, Weslandia. Slowly but surely his once-tormenting classmates become curious. And soon enough, Wesley allows them to help him crush seeds for oil, which "had a tangy scent and served him both as suntan lotion and mosquito repellent." He also invents sports that are less distasteful to him than football--"games rich with strategy and complex scoring systems," and watches patiently as his classmates blunder. Wesley's parents say that he looks happy for the first time in years. And when he returns to school in September? "He had no shortage of friends." Newbery Medal winner and onetime alternate-world creator Paul Fleischman shines in this deadpan-but-hilarious picture book, and illustrator Kevin Hawkes's splendid paintings will delight young readers with the explosion of colorful, comical details. Kids young and old will love the once-outcast hero Wesley and his Robinson Crusoe-style triumphs. (Ages 8 to 11, or for reading aloud to younger children) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

A young nonconformist invents a self-sufficient civilization in his suburban backyard. "Words and images fluidly play off one another as Wesley creates a language for his new produce and the crop erupts into a lush tropical landscape," wrote PW in our Best Books citation. Ages 4-9. (Aug.)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Paul Fleischman grew up in Santa Monica, California, the son of children's book author Sid Fleischman. Drawing on history, music, art, and theater, his books have often experimented with multiple viewpoints and performance. He received the Newbery Medal in 1989 for JOYFUL NOISE: POEMS FOR TWO VOICES, a Newbery Honor Award for GRAVEN IMAGES, the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction for BULL RUN, and was a National Book Award finalist for BREAKOUT. He lives on the central coast of California.

For more information, visit paulfleischman.net.

Customer Reviews

My son 7 and daughter 6 loved it.
Georgia Kouda
I love the way this books teaches a sort of self reliance and a CAN do attitude.
Michelle Polk
The illustrations are great and add to the quantity of the story.
Megan Allyn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Abramson on December 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is the only children's book that I have found worth buying (as opposed to the library). It has a multitude of themes, such as weather, math, and language. Not only that, but this book was actually fun and interesting. As a teacher, I know that it apeals to a large audience- including adults! buy the book, you won't regret it
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A profoundly thought provoking look at how people fit into the world, or make worlds to fit into. A story of a unique soul who chose not to accept rejection, but use his individuality to create beauty. Told simply, but with deep, far reaching effects for any reader.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Wonderful and inspiring. I suspect this book is appropriate for many more people than the simple picture book format would suggest--I found Wesley's struggle to reflect my own although I am older than the intended audience. Wesley manages to change the society he lives in very much and for the better, a fantasy many of us have. This book narrowly escapes becoming a handbook for revolution by containing a few small fictional elements, though, mostly that bizarre plant.
Every former geek, weirdo and outcast needs to read it, as it is a testimony to origionality and honesty. Perfect. I am glad I found it, and I hope many others do. Easily one of my favorite books, and one I'll cherish and give to as many people as I can. Happy reading.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I fell in love with Paul Fleischman's writing when I read Whirligig on recommendation of my 14 yr. old daughter. I just finished Seedfolks for a Reading & Lit. for Middle Grades Ed. course. It's a powerful little book. When I read Weslandia I LOVED it! What a great example Wesley sets for other children that are teased. I plan to teach middle grades and I will use this book. The illustrations are GREAT! So far Paul Fleischman is 3 for 3 with me. I hope to teach both Whirligig and Seedfolks when I teach reading.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
Let's say that you'd like to teach your kids about civilizations and how they come about. You're tempted to just go out and purchase that fabulous Sid Meier video game, "Civilization", but you suspect that a) You'd just be doing it for yourself and b) That's not the best way to teach five-year-olds. Voila! Author Paul Fleischman (or shall I say, NEWBERY award winning author Paul Fleischman) and artist Kevin Hawkes (sorry Kevin... no Newberys for you) have joined together to bring us a history of the founding of Weslandia in its book of the same name. The only picture book I've ever seen where kids that create their own fantasy worlds pale in the face of kids that put those worlds into practice.

Wesley isn't like other boys, a fact that drives his parents mad. He's an inventor who regularly refuses to join the crowd and fit in. With school over for the summer, Wesley sets about coming up with a project for the warm months. Thanks to his sarcastic father's throwaway remark about burgeoning civilizations, "I'm sure you'll use that knowledge often", the boy constructs a brilliant scheme. With the help of traveling seeds, Wesley will create and maintain his own unique civlization. New plants begin to grow and thrive in our hero's backyard (plants that would have been plucked as weeds if the nosy neighbor had his way). In time, the plants have flowered and produced fruit. With these as his base, Wesley refines his new food source. He tends his crops and, with their soft inner fibers, weaves new clothes for himself. He creates a sundial that uses the number of petals on the plant's flowers and creates games made from the many parts of the plants. You get the idea.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Great family fantasy adventure story of an outcast boy and how he made friends. I loved it. It has excellent color illustrations and I highly recommend this one to the 2nd through the 5th grades, including the teachers and parents.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
my class is doing a social studies topic on this book, and we all love it! we all had to find things wesley makes from his crop, i found 30 things he made! wesley even made himself some shoes! i recomend this book to anyone who wants to read a book or enjoys plants. this book is great for anyone at any age!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Weslandia by Hawks and Fleischman is a book I wish I had had growing up! How many of us remember creating our own worlds through the reading of books, or the construction of forts, treehouses, etc? Perhaps none of us went as far as becoming a self-sufficient civilization, but that world was OURS! In our "world", we were in charge, and ANYthing was possible....Today, so many kids forget about the outside world, wanting instead to play on the computer or watch TV inside all day. Perhaps Weslandia will inspire them to go adventuring out of doors to create their own private "kingdom". As for me, a "grownup", I was delighted to be reminded of my earlier, "carefree" days--I think I'll go outside now, turn over some earth, and wait for nature to plant her seed... :)!
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