HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: A Weekend with Wendell
Author and Illustrator: Kevin Henkes
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, republished in 1995
ISBN-13: 978-0688063252 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 068806325X (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0688140243 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0688140246 (Paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Henkes, Kevin. A Weekend with Wendell (published in 1986 by Greenwillow Books). In this story about a young mouse houseguest and his reluctant mouse host, Wendell is spending the weekend at Sophie’s house and he is generally a troublemaker. When they play house, Wendell is the mother, the father, and the children; Sophie is the dog. When they play bakery, Wendell is the baker; Sophie gets to be the sweet roll. Not only does he dominate their games and wreck Sophie’s toys, but he also messes up the house, shines his flashlight in Sophie’s eyes when she tries to sleep, and even gives her a new hairdo with shaving cream. Sophie and her parents are counting the hours until Wendell’s weekend visit is over. What game can Sophie make up that might leave Wendell speechless for a time and even win over his friendship?
Kevin Henkes, the author of Protecting Marie, has written several other children’s books using mice, such as Owen. His watercolor illustrations of Wendell, Sophie, and her parents are cheerful and amusing to accompany the lively, expressive, and appealing story. Most people will like the book, but a few may view Wendell’s behavior as outright bullying, Sally’s as getting revenge, the parents’ as an unwillingness to discipline, and the message as being that if a child is getting abused, he should just take matters into his own hands because adults are ultimately no help. However, others will simply look upon the whole thing as the portrayal of having to handle a “problem child” with valuable lessons about being polite to a guest, no matter how difficult that can be, and learning how to use a situation to turn an enemy into a friend. Henkes is not my favorite children’s author, but this book is not too bad.