Weasels

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Weasels Book Poster Image
Wacky mayhem as bumbling weasels reset doomsday machine.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Shows what a control room and a laboratory look like. Kids can identify various tools and equipment, such as a blow torch, an electric drill, a telescope, a ray gun, specimen jars, and test tubes. 

Positive Messages

Weasels work hard to do their jobs and problem-solve -- even though doing a good job means they'll be able to take over the world! One positive message is, "We can solve this with science!" (However, in fact, all they need to do is plug the cord to the machine back in to the electrical outlet.) 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The weasels are diligent in their work (if a little bumbling at times) and polite and helpful with one another. 

Violence & Scariness

A classic cartoon image of a weasel getting an electric shock, with an X-ray-like image of a skeleton illuminated. One weasel spills a cup of coffee on another's head by accident.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Weasels is a funny picture book that shows weasels plotting world domination. As the tag line on the cover says, "Megalomania has never been so furry!" But once they activate the machine to trigger the takeover, suddenly the power goes off and stops the countdown. As the weasels -- hyped up on gourmet coffee drinks -- scramble to fix the machine, kids and parents will find plenty of laughs amid the busy chaos, as well as a sly commentary on caffeinated office life. 

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What's the story?

Think weasels just eat nuts and berries all day? Wrong! Turns out they're busy plotting world domination in a big control room with a giant world map, lots of computers and video screens, and a monocled evil leader who sits and strokes his white mouse like a James Bond villain might do. As the story starts, "[T]oday is the day they'll take over the world." The electronic countdown begins, but one of the weasels -- easily spotted in a blue scarf -- trips over an electrical cord (while carrying a tray of gourmet coffees to his colleagues), inadvertently unplugging the doomsday machine. But nobody notices him, so the weasels spend most of the rest of the book frantically trying to troubleshoot and fix the problem -- all while drinking lots of "frothuccinos" and mochas.

Is it any good?

WEASELS takes a wacky idea and runs with it to hilarious effect. Each spread is filled with busy weasels -- many clinging to their coffee drinks, some in white lab coats or audio headsets and holding clipboards. They use all sorts of tools (blowtorches, drills, saws, wrenches) to detect the problem and fix the machine -- until a representative from Health and Safety shuts them down. Then they turn to the laboratory: "Don't worry. We can solve this with science!" says one weasel. Sharp readers know the answer is simply plugging the machine's cord back into the wall. 

The watercolor-and-ink illustrations are packed with fun details and deadpan observations such as, "Without this drill I am nothing," as well as subtle pop culture allusions, as when the game "World of Woodcraft" is seen on a computer screen. There are also plenty of silly moments to entertain little ones, such as a weasel accidentally spilling coffee on the head of his coworker. The endpapers that follow the last page offer a glimpse of what weasel world domination looks like -- including weasels on the money, on the moon, and on the "Starweasels Coffee" logo. Loads of chuckles for kids and adults. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about animal characters. What's fun about seeing animals do things you think of people doing, such as having jobs, operating computers, drinking gourmet coffee drinks, and using blowtorches? 

  • Why do you think the author picked weasels as the animal trying to take over the world? What kind of reputation do weasels have? 

  • The endpapers show some pictures of what the world would look like if weasels took over. Pick another animal and draw some pictures of what world domination would look like under its rule.

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