Christy's Reviews > Hooway for Wodney Wat

Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester
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's review
Feb 25, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: k-3-picture-books

American Library Association Notable Book Award (2000)
Monarch Award (2005)

I truly enjoyed Hooway for Wodney Wat. Helen Lester always entertains young readers. Wodney Wat has a problem. He pronounces Rs like Ws. The other rodents ruthlessly tease him. One day, a new student-a very large rodent, named Camilla Capybara, barges into class. All the rodents are frightened by this larger and smarter rodent. When Wodney Wat is named the leader in Simon Says, his speaking deficit becomes his greatest strenghth!

It is not surprising that Hooway for Wodney Wat is a Monarch winner. Children absolutely love this book. It's humor is literal making it a perfect fit for primary students. I particular appreciate Lester's ability to use language that children can relate to. "She accidentally-on purpose elbowed an ear, bumped tow noses, stepped on three tails, and lay down on a desk." The words "accidentally" and "on-purpose" are commonly used and considered quite important to my first graders. This book makes readers of all ages smile. Everyone loves a good underdog story!!
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Toby (new)

Toby Hi Christy

I think it's interesting that your 1st graders 'get' this book. My kids also loved it but until about 3rd grade, they didn't get the joke.

Christy Toby,
My class began laughing as soon as I read the title. I think they got a chuckle out of me pronouncing my Rs with Ws. I did stop as I read each page toward the end so we could discuss what was happening. I wanted to make sure they understood that Camilla was "literally" following the directions from Wodney Wat. They thought it was hilarious.

message 3: by Karrie (new)

Karrie I'm not familiar with this book. It sounds really funny, but not having seen it, would children with speech problems feel bad about themselves because of it? I can't imagine that would be the case, but thought I'd ask anyway.

Christy Karrie,
You make an excellent point. I am embarassed to say, I did not even think about that. Reflecting on the story and the way the students responded, I am thinking that they appreciate the fact that Wodney becomes the HERO!! So many good characters are relatable because of the hurdles they must face. I think kids can relate to that. The message is that even when kids have concerns, troubles, etc...they should not be teased and they may even end up the leader.

message 5: by Karrie (new)

Karrie I figured that was the case otherwise it wouldn't have won an ALA Notable Book Award, but you never know how kids take things. If you didn't think about it, I'm sure the book put a gentle spin on it.

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