A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mr. Wuffles by Caldecott Honor-winning author David Weisner (Art & Max, Flotsam) is a wildly imaginative story of a cat who discovers a spaceship full of tiny aliens in his house. The drama of the cat menacing the aliens and the aliens teaming up with friendly insects to escape his clutches and get back home unfolds in wordless, comics-like panels loaded with subtle humor and clever sci-fi touches.
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What's the story?
A curious house cat named Mr. Wuffles finds what looks like a small toy spaceship on the floor and begins to play with it and then falls asleep. What the reader sees, in comics-like panels, is that the \"toy\" is an actual spaceship full of tiny green aliens, whom the cat jostled when he was batting it around. He's disabled their ship, which they need to fix to get home. They leave the ship with some of their equipment, and Mr. Wuffles wakes up and chases them across the floor into an opening under the radiator. There, they find ant-like insects their size who help them get back home.
Is it any good?
MR. WUFFLES is an incredibly original picture book that takes a graphic-novel approach to storytelling, mixing action-packed panels with more traditional, full-page illustrations of a cat-and-mouse (actually, cat-and-aliens) game. The twist is that the aliens find friendly insects (who are also afraid of cats, judging from the wall drawings in their secret hiding place) to help them escape -- but not before posing together for some alien home movies.
There's much to look at in the colorful, detailed panels, and it's fascinating to see the ants and aliens communicate with each other in each one's own language, expressed in thought balloons with words not of our alphabet (the alien language looks like hieroglyphics; the ant one looks like little scratches). Readers can figure out what they're saying, but it can be challenging -- which also makes for layers of discovery upon multiple readings. Simply ingenious!
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about aliens from outer space. How do the ones in Mr. Wuffles compare with other aliens you've seen in books or movies? What's different about these?
Do you think there's life on other planets? What would you do if you saw an alien on Earth?
Do you think Mr. Wuffles acts like a real cat? What cat behavior does the author show in the pictures?
- Author: David Wiesner
- Illustrator: David Wiesner
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Clarion Books
- Publication date: October 1, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
- Number of pages: 32
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Awards: ALA Best and Notable Books, Caldecott Medal and Honors
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