Monday, May 21, 2012

Wemberly Worried

Thanks to Heather, Shepherd for such a good comparison of styles by one author. (As well as Good Evidence to back up what you say about your literary terms!)

Henkes, K. (2001). Wemberly worried. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.

    Kevin Henkes’ Wemberly Worried is a wonderful picture storybook targeted towards primary school aged students.  Wemberly is a little girl who worried about everything.  She worried in the morning, throughout the day and at night.  Wemberly’s family worried about her because she worried too much.  Then the time came for Wemberly to go to school and she began to worry like she never had before.  She asked several “What if…” questions and worried all they way to school.  Wemberly was very nervous when she walked into the class and hid behind things while she looked around.  Mrs. Peachum, the teacher, tries to help her out so that she will not be so nervous.    Does her teacher succeed or does Wemberly worry the rest of the day?  Readers will enjoy finding out what happens to Wemberly at school. 
    In this picture storybook, Henkes used both illustrations and text to tell the story.  The style of the illustrations is cartoon art with watercolor paints and black pen as the media.   The illustrations are eye-catching due to the intense and bold colors that Henkes used.  The page layouts vary from page to page in this book.  Some of the illustrations are full pages, while others are framed and several pictures are placed on the page around the text.  The illustrations help contribute to this story by depicting some literary elements.  The illustrations show characters, which are not mentioned in the text, and help the reader get an idea how Wemberly felt in certain situations.  For example when she worried no one would come to her party, an illustration shows that several people did come and this then shows why she worried about the amount of cake they had.   The illustrations also help depict the plot as it shows examples of things Wemberly worries about and how it makes her feel.  For example Wemberly worries that she will lose Petal, her doll, and there is an illustration that shows how she would react if this would happen, which is cry. 

    I choose this book so that I could compare it to Kitten’s First Full Moon, described below.  Both books are authored and illustrated by Kevin Henkes but are very different.  Wemberly Worried is part of the Mouse book series that Henkes is well known for, where Kitten’s First Full Moon is just a picture book and not part of a series.  Both books are picture storybooks because Henkes uses both text and illustrations equally throughout the book.  As I mentioned in the previous post, I am familiar with Henkes’ Mouse books and the colorful, bold and eye-catching illustrations that he uses.  In Kitten’s First Full Moon the illustrations are as equally eye-catching but he uses only black and white to portray the character and setting. Also, the line is heavy and wide while the lines in Wemberly Worried are thin and light.   In both books the illustrations are presented in different ways such as framed, full page and just placed on pages around text, although majority of the illustrations in Kitten’s First Full Moon are framed.  The style of text is different in both books also due to the targeted audience.  In Kitten’s First Full Moon the text, 22-point Gill Sans Extra Bold, is larger so that readers aged three to five can read it better.  In Wemberly Worried there is more text and it is smaller in size, except when used to exaggerate Wemberly’s thoughts.  This is more appropriate for the targeted audience, which is five to eight year olds. 

     Wemberly Worried would be an excellent book to use in a primary classroom, especially kindergarten and first grade, at the beginning of the year.  Most children have worries that are hard for adults to understand and several children worry about going to school.  This would be an excellent book to read aloud to students the first day of school or sometime during the first week to show that it is okay to worry and that other kids may be worried just like they are. The BIG questions that could be asked are:
  • Why do you think Wemberly was worried about going to school? 
  • How did you feel about coming to school?
  • What if you had a friend who has never been to school before and was worried about starting, what could you say to her to make her feel better?

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