cover image Hooway for Wodney Wat

Hooway for Wodney Wat

Helen Lester. Walter Lorraine Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-92392-4

The creators of Tacky the Penguin take on a sensitive childhood issue and deliver their message with humor. Rodney Rat pronounces his name Wodney Wat because of a speech impediment. His classmates taunt him mercilessly, and, in irresistible portraits, the humiliated fellow hides inside his jacket, pulling it up over his face. But his fortune changes with the arrival of an oversize new student, Camilla Capybara, who plows into the room and announces that she's bigger, meaner and smarter than anyone else. The bully proceeds to intimidate her peers until a game of Simon Says, with Wodney as leader, finally ends her reign of terror. While everyone else knows what to do--""Wodney says wake the leaves"" and ""go west""--Camilla does not and follows orders literally. Indignant at being laughed at, she indeed heads west, never to be seen again. Predictably, Wodney's former tormentors proclaim him a hero and never tease him again. Wodney's transformation from forlorn to triumphant will have children cheering. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)