Hi there... This is the fourth page of the Letter "W" in an alphabetical list of children's books reviewed on ReadThatAgain.com... All these books are also listed by Author in another section of the site.

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Kids Books -- "W" By Title
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"While We Were Out"
Written by Ho Baek Lee
Illustrated by Ho Baek Lee
(Kane Miller, 2003)

An oddball story about a mischievous rabbit -- a family pet -- that sneaks into the apartment when the family is away... The bunny raids the fridge, watches TV and plays with all the toys, then gets up early in the morning to slip back onto the porch where it lives, confident that the humans will suspect nothing. The book ends on a silly, scatological note, as these plans are undone because of the little poop pellets the excited little bunny left behind. Cute book -- originally published in South Korea, it has some added Asian touches, such as the traditional childrens' clothes that the bunny dresses up in and some of the writing on various items inside the house. (B-)

Written by Elizabeth Partridge
Illustrated by Anna Grossnickle Hines
(Greenwillow, 2003)

Is it a "daddy book" masquerading as a nature book, or vice versa? Either way, this is sure to strike a chord among the sappy-minded among us (I liked it, my kid did not...) A boy and his father get up early while on a camping trip and greet the rising sun as the father teaches his son how to whistle. Not sure what the connection is supposed to be between whistling and dawn, but this is still evocative as all hell. Besides -- it's a daddy book! How can you not love a daddy book? The artwork is unusual: all the pictures are quilted collages, constructed using swatches of cloth that change in color as the sunrise gets nearer... very creative and folk-arty. (B-)

"The Whole Green World"
Written by Tony Johnston
Illustrated by Elisa Kleven
(Farrar Straus Giroux, 2005)

A love-of-nature and love-of-the-world-around-us book with a giddy, hippie-ish vibe that is nice, but might not be for everyone. Kleven's detailed, expansive patchwork quilt-ish artwork is ideally suited for the playful, celebratory tone... Great book for the right families. (B)

"Who Said Red?"
Written by Mary Serfozo
Illustrated by Keiko Narahashi
(Margaret K. McElderry, 1988)

Two children, an older sister and her two-ish, three-ish little brother, are playing together on a farmyard... She asks him what color he's looking for -- blue? green? yellow? purple? -- using all kinds of fanciful and fantastic examples. But the whole time she's also teasing him -- she knows what he's looking for is his lost red kite, and for every other color, he insists, no -- I said red! The playful dynamic between the siblings is nice, and provides a good narrative pull... The artwork, by Keiko Narahashi (I'm a fan) also has a fluidity and grace that makes these two children seem very real and very tangible.. You feel that you're there with them, and they both seem to be having fun with the game. As do we. Recommended! (A)

"Who Wants One?"
Written by Mary Serfozo
Illustrated by Keiko Narahashi
(Margaret K. McElderry, 1989)

This likeminded follow-up to Who Said Red finds big sister still teasing her baby brother, offering him a series of increasingly fantastic numerical options -- two of these? three of that? -- until she finally relents and gives him what he wants, one -- just one -- little puppy. Same deal as the other book: I like the story, love the art, my kid wanted this one to be read over and over. (A)

"Whose Garden Is It?"
Written by Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrated by Jane Dyer
(Gulliver/Harcourt, 2004)

This one's a little kooky, but I like it. It's an imaginative, descriptive ecology lesson, draped in complex, but highly readable rhymes -- a woman and child come across a beautiful garden and wonder whose garden it is... They are answered by everyone from the property owner to the rabbits and bees, the flowers, weeds, sun and rain, each of who sees their contributions as crucial to the garden's existence. All of nature lays claim to the little patch of land, and apparently, everyone has a valid point. This could easily have been a real clunker, but the text is fluid and rhythmic, the poetry works and has a good, strong meter. The artwork is quite nice as well, both evocative and easily comprehended... Because of the high-concept structure and unresolved plot (the question of "ownership" is left up open and up to the reader), this book might not be for everyone, but for parents and kids on the right wavelength, it'd be a real treat. Worth checking out, though it might be too hippie-ish for some. (A-)

"Whose Hat Is It?"
Written by Valeri Gorbachev
Illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev
(Harper Collins, 2004)

There's not much to this book: a big wind blows all the animals' hats off, and after a big pink chapeau goes unclaimed, a turtle picks it up and tries to find out who it belongs to. He asks a rabbit, a beaver, a mouse... no one claims it, until a big elephant comes along and says it's hers. (Oops! I gave away the ending!!) The artwork is nice, but the story is pretty flat. (C)

Written by Lindsay Camp
Illustrated by Tony Ross
(G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1998)

Another great, goofy book from England, wherein a pesky little girl named Lily, who drives her dad nuts by always asking whywhywhywhywhywhy...? actually winds up saving the world. When the mighty Thargon space fleet lands in her playground, blasters at the ready, and announce that they are going to atomize our puny planet, little Lily steps up and asks the obvious question: why? And, being Lily, she asks it over and over until the aliens themselves start to question their agenda. After the Thargon's pack up and leave, Lily's dad (who had been pretty grouchy earlier) gives her a big hug and says he'll never complain again about her eternal questioning. This one's a mixed bag... On one hand, the story is funny and fantastical, and has a good punchline. The crabby daddy thing is a two-edged sword, though -- I'm in favor of books that show parents as human beings (Lily's dad gets so ground down he tries to hide his head under a sofa pillow...) but it's kind of a weird message that he's so bent out of shape by her being so curious. Yeah, this is one of the archetypal kid things that drive adults buggy, but having a book where the parent so strongly tries to squelch the whys is a little bit weird. I waited a while to spring this one on my kid, and went out of my way to say that I didn't feel the same way as Lily's dad... Hopefully having read it after all won't drive up her future my-parents-screwed-me-up therapy bill. On balance, I'd say this is a winner. (B+)

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