Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Necks out for adventure! The True Story of Edwin Wiggleskin

Necks out for adventure! The True Story of Edwin Wiggleskin

Timothy Basil Ering
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Candlewick Press, 2008   ISBN: 978-0763623555

Wiggleskins have always lived in the mud at the bottom of the ocean. When it is time to eat they stick their necks out and when something scary comes along they pull their necks in. That is how wiggleskins are. One day Edwin, a young and rather different sort of wiggleskin, asks his mother what would happen "if we flowed with the current." The other wiggleskins laugh when they hear this question but Edwin's mother encourages him to "stick out you neck for adventure like you always do."

Then something dreadful happens. Two filthy and stinky feet appear and all the wiggleskins pull their necks in to hide. Unfortunately, this time this tactic does not save the wiggleskins and the owner of the feet quickly scoops up every single wiggleskin except for Edwin.

Edwin is all alone and for a while he waits to see if anyone will come back. When no one does, he decides that he is  really going to have to stick out his neck. He bravely and determinedly shucks off his shells and floats freely in the water for the first time in his life.

Not long after this momentous event Edwin is carried up by a wave and deposited on the land. He begins to walk and he is soon very hot and exhausted. He rests under a scrintalberry leaf, which is then picked up by none other than the owner of those horrible smelly feet. The hornly scratcher - for that is what he is - wants the leaf to use as flavoring in his meal. Edwin is picked up along with the leaf and he soon finds himself floating in a cooking pot.

In this utterly delightful picture book Timothy Basil Ering encourages his readers to dare to stick their necks out, to take a risk and to have an adventure. Edwin is an unforgettable character, a bivalve in a million, and as we see him triumph over his much bigger foe we cannot help feeling thoroughly delighted.

Wonderfully funny illustrations and a meaningful, and at the same time decidedly comical, story makes this picture book a joy to read.