Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner won a 2014 Caldecott Honor. It is a wordless picture book that tells a story of adventure, teamwork, cooperation, camaraderie, and the little guy triumphing.
Our story begins with Mr. Wuffles trying to find a toy to entertain him. He finds a suitable toy in what he thinks is his regular rocketship but instead it is a spaceship full of aliens that have landed in his house.
Mr. Wuffles is an energetic cat and winds up breaking the aliens spaceship. The aliens realize they need to escape to save their lives. They leave their ship and dash into an air vent where they meet new friends, the ants and the ladybugs.
The aliens communicate with their new friends using hieroglyphics to explain what has brought them into their humble abode. The aliens discover that the ants and ladybugs share similar experiences with Mr. Wuffles, so the animals take the aliens under their wings. They provide them with food and help them rebuild their ship to escape.
The band of friends have the elaborate plan to bulldoze the cat all at once so that he’s so confused and has no idea which way to go. This works as the perfect distraction and the aliens are able to safely make it to their ship and fly home.
I enjoyed this book and I can understand why it won a Caldecott honor. Wiesner employs many artistic strategies. He uses rich colors and makes great use of the space in each panel. Additionally, he utilizes contrast very well and creates realistic shadows. Finally, he depicts movement clearly and in an innovative way. Most illustrators use lines to depict movement but Wiesner illustrates Mr. Wuffles movement as a screenshot of the continuous motion that he experiences. For example, in the above picture, when the army of friends charge Mr. Wuffles his head is shown in three merged positions.
I would recommend this book to parents and teachers. It can teach children the benefits of working together, sharing, and embracing their strengths. Additionally, this book can serve as a mirror and a window for children. If children go on adventures with their friends or have a diverse group of companions this book can be a mirror. If children are not familiar with these actions then the book can serve as a window. Finally, this book can help to enhance children’s imaginations. Children are free to create their own stories and interpretations because it is a wordless picture books.
– Chinassa Phillips