Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Hooway for Wodney Wat

Hooway for Wodney Wat

Helen Lester
Illustrator:   Lynn Munsinger 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 1999   ISBN: 978-0395923924

Rodney Rat is a very unfortunate little fellow because he cannot for the life of him pronounce his r’s. This means that when he is asked what he name is, Rodney says that his name is Wodney Wat, and this answer makes all the other wodents…er…rodents in his class laugh at him.

Picked on mercilessly by Hairy Hamster, Mimifeet Mouse and the other children in his class, Wodney tries to stay as inconspicuous as possible. He speaks so softly that no one can hear him, he eats alone at lunchtime, and he hides inside his jacket during recess.

Then one day a new rodent comes into the classroom. Her name is Camilla Capybara and she is enormous. She is also meaner and smarter than all the other rodents, and she takes great pleasure in demonstrating what a clever bully she is. Soon everyone in the class is thoroughly cowed by Camilla, and it seems likely that she is going to be top rodent for the foreseeable future. Or perhaps not.

In this deliciously funny and sweet picture book we meet a truly pitiful little rodent child who is the underdog in his peer group. Thankfully, Helen Lester decides to give Wodney Wat a break, and his inspirational story will give readers hope that sometimes the underdog really can change his story.