The Wainscott Weasel

Book review by
Molly Coplan, Common Sense Media
The Wainscott Weasel Book Poster Image
Charming tale of a weasel's adventure to protect his love.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Kids will learn about nature and the critters that live in the woods and ponds. They will learn what happens when there are changes in weather and how that affects wildlife.

Positive Messages

Be brave to protect those you love. Not everyone is who you think they are at first. Love can be blind, unexpected, and tricky. And you sometimes find friends hidden in places you'd never expect.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bagley is courageous and protects those he loves. Zeke and Wendy both keep their word, help their friends, and take care of Bagley when he's sick. The other animals in the story band together to lend a helping hand to a friend in need. There's some question as to whether Zeke and Wendy love each other for the right reasons.

Violence & Scariness

The constant threat of predators to the beloved characters may be scary for little kids. The main character wears an eye patch because he lost his eye in a run-in with an owl. Stories of the death of parents are told (but they died before the action in the book begins). Zeke and his brothers try to fight Bagley.


Some name calling, using words such as "dumb" and "hussy."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Wainscott Weasel is a delightful story of a misfit weasel in love with a fish. Originally pubished in 1993, it's a gem that the American Library Association named a 1994 Notable Children's Book, and it's sure to become a favorite of any kid who loves animals and nature. With both beautiful words and illustrations, this chapter book brings the Wainscott woods to life. The constant threat of predators may be scary for young kids, as well main character Bagley's story of how he lost his eye in a run-in with an owl. The memory of the death of parent is a thread throughout the book, which also may upset younger kids. Yet, if your kid can handle these themes, they will love the descriptions of the weasels dancing and the warm messages of love and friendship.

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What's the story?

Bagley Brown, Jr. is a weasel who mostly keeps to himself. The patch he wears over his eye, his famous, now missing father, and his disklike for dancing (unlike the other weasels in Wainscott) all make him feel different. To make matters worse, he falls in love with Bridget, a fish. Despite the trouble that a weasel-loving a fish presents, Bagley Brown is committed to doing anything he can to keep Bridget safe from the predator-ridden pond. But to protect his beloved, he must enlist the help of the other animals.

Is it any good?

Tor Seidler brings the Wainscott woods to life with vivid descriptions of nature and vibrant, charming characters. Fred Marcellino's beautiful illustrations throughout THE WAINSCOTT WEASEL help make this world pop off the page. The story of Bagley and his friends is exciting and unpredictable.  Kids will love the colorful assortment of characters, including a family oriented bullfrog, a gorgeous striped bass, and cheerful sparrows.

While keeping kids' attention with suspense and humor, the author also creates characters who are complicated and sophisticated and show kids that not everyone is who you think they are at first; love can be blind, unexpected, and tricky; and you sometimes find friends hidden in places you would never expect.


Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the memory of Bagley's father both helped and hurt Bagley's friendships.

  • Can you think of any other story in which two characters fall into unrealistic or tricky love? Does it work out for them?

  • Do you find the map at the beginning of the book helpful? Why?

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