Willie Was Different

Norman Rockwell, Author Berkshire House Publishers $16.95 (26p) ISBN 978-0-936399-61-4
Originally printed in McCall's in 1967, this publication of Rockwell's only story for children coincides with the 100th anniversary of the American illustrator's birth. The tale, said to be autobiographical, concerns a ""gawky and pigeon-toed"" wood thrush named Willie who has vague premonitions of his own genius. Willie flees his family-particularly his overbearing father-in order to find his talent. When Miss Polly, the town librarian, plays her flute at the window, Willie joins her in a duet and the two discover his gift: he can improvise. However, Willie's reputation for composing ""cadenzas and trills inspired by his own moods"" soon lands him in an aviary to be observed and studied. There the virtuoso loses his spirit: ""Willie was proud to be different, to be a genius, but he did not want to be a celebrity."" Miss Polly rescues him and the two continue their music-""Very softly, just for themselves."" Rockwell's effusive color illustrations will warm new generations, while adult admirers will savor the presentation of Rockwellian faces and gestures in a new context. Ages 6-10. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/24/1994
Release date: 09/01/1994
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-14458-2
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-12101-9
Paperback - 27 pages - 978-0-679-88262-6
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