Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger have collaborated on many funny and popular books for children, including the stories starring Tacky the Penguin and Wodney Wat, as well as the new Laugh-Along series. Helen Lester is a full-time writer who makes her home in New York. Lynn Munsinger has lived in Vermont and Connecticut, devoting her time to freelance illustration.
PreS-Gr 3-A shy rat who can't pronounce his r's rises to the occasion and outsmarts a new student who terrorizes the classroom. An ego booster for any child who has ever been bullied or teased, with illustrations that exude charm and personality. (May) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
K-Gr 2-Helen Lester's amusing beginning-to-read title (Houghton, 1999) about a shy, young rat triumphing over a much larger, overbearing rodent gets an uneven translation to video. Rodney Rat's speech impediment (he pronounces his r's as w's) makes him an obvious target for teasing by his peers, which sends him into a shell of shyness. When Camilla Capybara moves into town, she quickly becomes the school's most notorious bully, intimidating all the children. However, Rodney's weakness quickly becomes his strength when he uses his impediment and his wits to find Camilla's Achilles heel and send her packing. While ably narrated by the author, the production is underwhelming on the whole. The iconographic animation and the quiet, but bouncy background music make the illustrations slightly more expressive than in book format. However, the overall laid back treatment of this fun story doesn't fully capture the book's flavor.-Jennifer Iserman, Dakota County Library, Burnhaven Branch, Burnsville, MN Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"The team responsible for the Tacky the Penguin books and Princess Penelope's Parrot (1996), among others, is in rare form in this picture book, in which a swell little guy proves himself a hero to his tormentors. Wodney Wat has a problem: he can't pronounce the letter r, which makes him the butt of constant jokes and teasing. He's so distressed, in fact, that he routinely buries his head in his jacket--the closest he can come to actually disappearing. He thinks he's really in for it when "big, mean, smart" Camilla Capybara appears in Miss Fuzzleworth's classroom. But the tables are deftly turned when Wodney is tapped to lead a game of Simon Says: when he says "Go West" after a tough round of play, guess who does. Munsinger's well-detailed illustrations are superbly funny, a perfect complement to a comical story that will not only make kids laugh but also hearten those who feel they'll be outsiders forever." Booklist, ALA
"Rodney Rat, who can't pronounce his R's, is the shyest, most
miserable kid in school, until one day he saves his classmates from
the mean bully Camilla Capybara. Wodney's transformation from
cowering to empowered is beautifully underscored in the humorous,
expressive illustrations. Appealingly, Wodney doesn't need to
overcome his impediment to be liked--and it's the impediment itself
and Wodney's clever use of it that foils the villain." Horn Book A
shy rodent turns his defect into strength to overcome class bully
and save the day. Every page is a delight in this imaginative book,
which culminates in surprising word play. Energetic illustrations
capture perfectly the characters of timid Rodney, the overbearing
Camilla Capybara, and their rowdy rodent classmates.
Parent's Choice (R)