Children’s Book of the Week: Weslandia

August 10, 2009

Weslandia by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

It’s probably a mistake to read this book in mid-August, because it will make your kid feel like they’ve been squandering their summer. No matter. Read it anyway, it’s worth it.

Weslandia is about a smart boy named Wes who is shunned in his town of follow-any-leader conformists, much to the embarrassment of his parents. Wes learns about civilizations during the last week of school, and decides to create his own civilization as a summer project. He is helped along by a breeze that brings some strange seeds, which he grows in his backyard, and which become giant mysterious plants. He eats the fruit, drinks the juice, weaves clothes from the leaves and stalks, makes ink, creates a whole new language, and convinces the neighborhood kids that they should help him, and also buy his fruit-derived sunscreen/bug repellant at a high price.

The glorious illustrations by Maine’s own Kevin Hawkes make this one that the kids love, and I like the not-so-subtle message about following your own path so you can stick it to your former tormenters. Henry especially is right on with the idea of creating an entire civilization based on one boy.

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4 Responses to “Children’s Book of the Week: Weslandia”

  1. Clog says:

    I was going to say….this sounds right up Henry’s alley. What a clever plot.

  2. Beth says:

    I loved this book, and so did Alessandro. Amen!

  3. sarah says:

    Looking at your book reviews and this looks great but Jaya gets so troubled by anyone being “mean” to other people in books he spends the rest of the time asking why they are mean and I end up not finishing the story!

  4. Julie says:

    Maybe check this one out at the library, Sarah, the “mean” part is one page, and just involves chasing, and it’s clear that it doesn’t bother Wes as much as it bothers his parents. It’s a GREAT book.

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