Wilfred

Ryan T Higgins, Author, Ryan Higgins, Illustrator
Ryan Higgins. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3732-7
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Displaying a judicious sense of comedy and drama, Higgins (Twaddleton’s Cheese) has crafted a lovely (and hirsute) fable about friendship and sacrifice. Wilfred is the quintessential lonely monster, a “humongous and hairy” creature who comes upon a town where everyone is bald. One brave boy becomes Wilfred’s friend, giving Higgins multiple opportunities to have fun with Wilfred’s athletic, intellectual, and artistic talents. But when the townspeople realize that Wilfred’s shaggy coat could be the solution to yet another winter with freezing pates, they play a nasty trump card: “If he wanted to visit he’d have to stop being big... or to stop being hairy. Since Wilfred couldn’t stop being big... the only thing left for him to do was to stop being hairy.” It takes a blizzard for the townspeople to realize that Wilfred possesses a heart equal to his behemoth stature. Higgins’s distinctively sculptural drawing style—the characters have the dimensional feel and expressive features of puppets—gives the story added emotional weight, and its sense of energy will keep readers turning the pages. Ages 3–5. Agent: Elana Roth, Red Tree Literary. (Mar.)
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