Wednesday 15 July 2015

Whiffy Wilson The Wolf who wouldn't go to school

The story of a little wolf who learns that school is definitely NOT boring!

Author: Caryl Hart, Illustrator: Leonie Lord  
Published by Orchard Books 2014   

Reviewed copy: library, hard back but  as far as I know, this book has just recently  become available in paperback.

The Story
Whiffy Wilson has absolutely NO interest in school. He'd much rather stay at home watching the telly. Then one day he calls round to play with his friend Dotty and she encourages him to come along to school for the day. Wilson realises that learning can be fun - he gets stuck into painting, cuts dough shapes, makes new friends and becomes a hero on the football field. 
A funny & heart warming story written in fantastic rhyming text with adorably cute Illustrations.
More from Missus B 
Oh I do love this book!
I was immediately drawn to it's front cover and the image of a scraggly grey wolf dressed in red dungarees. Whiffy is a deliciously cute and lovable character. I just want to pluck him out of the pages and give him a squeezy hug- even if he is a bit on the pongy side. 

Wilson looking a little unsure when Dotty suggests he should come to school....
(holding a twig instead of his stripey teddy)

Missus B's Picture Book Reviews
Overall, the images in this book are wonderfully cute. Even the cover pages are illustrated with a lovely blackboard and chalk effect.

Spot the little wolf amongst these lovely chalk doodles
Missus B's Picture Book Reviews
The characters are  brightly coloured and have a chunky look. Their faces are simply drawn, yet expressive - Wilson looks suitably confused as he tries to count with his fingers, and later slightly alarmed, as Dotty shoves him in the door of the classroom. The child characters have smiling faces and bright, circular eyes -  I love how we can see joy, excitement and trepidation during the football when Wilson scores  a surprise goal!

The main characters are Dotty, Whiffy and the other school children who are either in the foreground or background of each scene. Whiffy Wilson is the only animal in school, but his wolfiness doesn't seem to phase the other students (like I said, he is utterly cute.) There are some other little characters too- like Whiffy's blue teddy, the ladybirds flitting in and out of pages, the bees or the bug who sits on the floor at story time.These are the cute little extras that we adults often miss, but which little readers love and appreciate. 

There are plenty of visually pleasing images- like Wilson splodging green paint on his toenails instead of the paper, his absent minded stare at the TV as he sits in it's blue hue, the collection of child drawings displayed in the classroom or the mobile creations hanging from the ceiling. Lots of lovely details to admire! At the end of the story, Wilson enthusiastically dresses for school in floral knickers, quickly brushes his hair and in his haste buttons up his duffle coat unevenly (oh, the bother of those big triangular buttons!) 

Whiffy Wilson the wolf who wouldn't go to school
What a perfectly lazy, dead-pan TV face!
Missus B's Picture Book Reviews
'Whiffy Wilson the Wolf who wouldn't go to School'

The story is written in a chirpy, upbeat rhythm making it an excellent read-aloud book. My little listeners loved the fact that it's catchy beat allowed them to join in almost spontaneously. 

Here's a taster:

There was a wolf called Wilson

Who couldn't count to ten.
He wouldn't learn to write his name.
He never used a pen.

He didn't know his ABCs.

He couldn't paint or cook.
He wouldn't learn his two-plus-twos.
He never read a book.

So, we hear about Wilson's fear that he could get things wrong at school while the confident Dotty assures him that learning is fun. The little lady takes the lead, gently pushes Wilson  through the door and shows him what this school business is all about. First things first though- Wilson needs to know where the toilet is (oops, he has mistakenly used the girls room!) and where he should put his coat. After that, it's all about painting, play dough, joining the dots and playing outside. 

Or, maybe it's not such a gentle push judging by Wilson's startled expression.
 Either way- it's a nudge in the right direction. Once Wilson starts at school, he realizes
he's been missing all the fun!

This book is a comforting and fun read for any child who is preparing for school. In it's jaunty rhythm we see how Wilson makes the transition from being  an uninterested, slightly nervous pupil to a happy-go-lucky school child with a bunch of new friends and a lovely teacher. In fact, Wilson loves school so much, that he even wants to go on a Saturday!

A Missus B favourite!

Happy reading, 
Missus B

                                       See my video review here:

See a child talk about the book here:
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