A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday, David Macaulay (Black and White).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of circus owner Charles Ringling (1863â€“1926). Read Ringlingville USA: The Stupendous Story of Seven Brothers and Their Stunning Circus Success by Jerry Apps and Tents, Tigers, and the Ringling Brothers , also by Jerry Apps.
- In 1867, Charles Dickens gives first his first U.S. public reading at Tremont Temple in Boston. Read A Christmas Carol.
December has been designated Read a New Book Month. Often in December, we hunt for something recently published that will make the perfect gift. Now, I admit that I favor dog books. And my readers have been patient with me as I rhapsodize over titles like Love that Dog or Homer, month after month. But today I have a title for cat fanciers, or for anyone who loves to read a brilliantly executed picture book: David Wiesnerâ€™s Mr. Wuffles!
On the cover of the book, a sly black cat looks out at the viewer. Various balls and mouse toys lie around him. Tucked in the corner, an odd-shaped silver object sits on the floor. A bug appears prominently against the wallpaper. Such an ordinary scene, but here are clear indications of menace. Even before the title page appears, an owner attempts to interest our hero in a toy. But as Mr. Wuffles parades through a gallery of ordinary dull objects, viewers learn that the shiny, silver object houses a group of space aliens. Welcome to the world of David Wiesner, where the ordinary always becomes extraordinary.
In panels with a strange language, the aliens introduce their plight. Knowing that children love to pore over every detail of an illustration, David invented his own alien tongue that, once decoded, will reveal more information in the art. Large eyes peer into the alien world, and then the picture cuts away to Mr. Wuffles, now playing with this exciting toy. The story moves from the plight of the aliens to the cat intent upon seizing them. At one point the small creatures find shelter in a hole in the wall and create their own Lascaux cave painting, prominently featuring cats. All the while, the human remains clueless. Eventually the aliens launch themselves into spaceâ€”as a loud â€śMWOWW!â€ť erupts from Mr. Wuffles.
Great fun from the first page to the last, Mr. Wuffles! is based on a concept that every cat owner understands. Our pets have fascinating and interesting lives that we only barely glimpse. They see and smell things to which we remain oblivious, and what we think they will like often bores them.
Well, nothing is boring about Mr. Wuffles! The action moves forward at a swift pace; the pictures contain an enormous amount of visual energy. Ever since Free Fall, David Wiesner has been experimenting with superb storytelling that often uses few words. For his talents, he has been honored three times with the Caldecott Medal and has become one of the favorite authors of picture-book readers. In his early years as an artist, David Wiesner actually illustrated a version of E.T. Now many years later he has found a way to bring extra-terrestrials, cats, and children together in a stellar picture book that you and the children in your life will not want to miss.
Â Here’s a page from Mr. Wuffles!:Â
Originally posted December 2, 2013. Updated for .