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Wemberly Worried


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About the Author

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of more than fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005, and Waiting won a Caldecott Honor and Geisel Honor in 2016. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song; her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels-one for The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. Kevin Henkes has been published by Greenwillow Books since the release of his first book, All Alone, in 1981. His fiftieth book, the picture book Egg, was published in January 2017. Most recently, he is the author of In the Middle of Fall, Winter Is Here, Summer Song, A Parade of Elephants, Sweeping Up the Heart, and Penny and Her Sled. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.


PreS-Gr 1-Henkes once again puts his finger on the pulse of young children, combining good storytelling, careful characterization, and wonderfully expressive artwork to create an entertaining and reassuring picture book that addresses a common concern. Wemberly, a quiet and introverted mouse, spends all of her time worrying about big things (will her parents disappear in the middle of the night?), little things (spilling juice at the table), and things in between (will she shrink during her bath?). Despite the patient support of her family, she still frets that a tree will fall on her house or that she will lose her beloved doll. As if she doesn't have enough to stew about, the anticipated beginning of nursery school opens up a whole new world of woe. Happily, the first-day jitters are soon diminished with the help of an understanding teacher, lots of fun activities, and a new friend. In the watercolor-and-black-pen illustrations, Wemberly is depicted as a white mouse with big pink ears; her always-serious expression and the gray spot that covers one eye make her seem particularly vulnerable. While her parents' furrowed brows and affectionate embraces convey their concern for their daughter, Wemberly's feisty grandmother provides a bit of comic relief (she wears a sweatshirt that reads, "Go With The Flow"). Told with sensitivity and filled with perfectly chosen details, this story will speak to young worrywarts everywhere, and may provide some comfort to those about to begin nursery school or kindergarten.-Joy Fleishhacker, formerly at School Library Journal Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"Henkes once again puts his finger on the pulse of young children, combining good storytelling, careful characterization, and wonderfully expressive artwork to create an entertaining and reassuring picture book." -- School Library Journal (starred review) "Wemberly shows that being human is cause for celebration, even if you're a mouse." -- New York Times Book Review "This winning heroine speaks to the worrywart in everyone." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Henkes (Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse) introduces another wonderfully appealing child-mouse with a stubborn habit: worrying. Wemberly, a shy white mouse with gray spots, always feels nervous whether at home or away. "At the playground, Wemberly worried about/ the chains on the swings,/ and the bolts on the slide,/ and the bars on the jungle gym." She tells her father, "Too rusty. Too loose. Too high," while sitting on a park bench watching the other mice play. Her security blanket, a rabbit doll named Petal (whose spot over the left eye matches her own), rarely leaves her grip. Henkes adroitly juggles the main narrative, hand-lettered asides and watercolor-and-ink imagery of the young pessimist and her supportive parents; each element contributes a different strength. For instance, as he lists Wemberly's worries, "Big things" heads the list, paired with a vignette of the heroine checking on her parents in the middle of the night with a flashlight, "I wanted to make sure you were still here." He later shows how Wemberly's anxieties peak at the start of nursery school with huge text that dwarfs tiny illustrations. At this overwhelming moment, Wemberly meets another girl mouse, Jewel, who turns out to be a kindred spirit (she even carries her own worn doll). Henkes offers no pat solutions, handling the material with uncanny empathy and gentleness; while playing with Jewel, "Wemberly worried. But no more than usual. And sometimes even less." This winning heroine speaks to the worrywart in everyone. Ages 4-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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