Chester's Way

( 4 )

Overview

Chester and Wilson had their own way of doing things, and they did everything together. When they cut their sandwiches, it was always diagonally. When they rode their bikes, they always used hand signals. If Chester was hungry, Wilson was too. They were two of a kind, and that's the way it was - until indomitable Lilly, who had her own way of doing things, moved into the neighborhood.

Chester and Wilson share the same exact way of doing things, until Lilly moves ...

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Overview

Chester and Wilson had their own way of doing things, and they did everything together. When they cut their sandwiches, it was always diagonally. When they rode their bikes, they always used hand signals. If Chester was hungry, Wilson was too. They were two of a kind, and that's the way it was - until indomitable Lilly, who had her own way of doing things, moved into the neighborhood.

Chester and Wilson share the same exact way of doing things, until Lilly moves into the neighborhood and shows them that new ways can be just as good.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Chester's ways are fairly circumscribed: this young mouse has definite likes and dislikes, and there is no changing his mind. His friend Wilson is just like him; they're quite a pair. Then Lilly moves into the neighborhood. She speaks backwards (``YLLIL MA I''), travels only in disguise and carries a water pistol wherever she goes, ``just in case.'' She intimidates Chester and Wilson, until she terrorizes some bullies who are picking on the two friends. Suddenly, Lilly's ways don't look so bad, and the threesome becomes just as like-minded and inseparable as Chester and Wilson's former twosome. Henkes's vision of friendship captures the essence of the childlike; his mice live in a sunny, imaginative world mixed with secure routines and the safety of known factors. The story unwinds at a deliberate pace; every sentence is either downright funny or dense with playful, deadpan humor. The artist/author, as always, gently grants room for differences between people (the turnaround in A Weekend with Wendell , for example, and the reconciliation between Wedge and his stepfather in Two Under Par ). Behind each book is a wide-open heart, one readers can't help but respond to, that makes all of Henkes's booksand especially this oneof special value to children. Ages 4-up. (August)
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Chester and his best friend Wilson did everything together and they liked it that way. When Lilly moved into the neighborhood, she had her own way of doing things and it wasn't Chester's way. The boys avoided Lilly even though she tried to become their friend. When Chester and Wilson found themselves surrounded by bullies, they were saved by a cat-disguised water pistol wielding figure whom they determined could be no one else but Lilly. Their friendship blossomed as they discovered the things they had in common. They also enjoyed learning to do things differently. They played together and became good friends . . . "and then Victor moved into the neighborhood." Henkes' classic story of friendship will delight young readers and perhaps prompt new friendships. His charming and expressive watercolor mice delightfully show us that change can be good. 1997 (orig.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2 Chester is a child of rigid habits. From the way he ties his shoes to what he has for breakfast, he knows exactly how things ought to be done and tolerates no deviations. His friend, Wilson, shares his attitudes and his set routines, and the two are completely satisfied with the way they have arranged their lives. Although Chester's father is mildly disparaging of their obsessive actions, nothing happens to disturb them until Lilly moves into the neighborhood. Lilly is a whirlwind of wacky behavior. While Chester and Wilson cut their sandwiches into neat diagonals, Lilly uses a cookie cutter to make stars and flowers out of hers. Gradually, the two little stuffed shirts and free-swinging Lilly learn to accept each other and reshape all their prejudices to fit a trio, but an amusing surprise is waiting for them, and for the readers, on the last page. Henkes' charming cartoons are drawn with pen-and-ink, washed over with cheerful watercolors. They give witty expressions to his characters. The children's eyes, for instance, are drawn only with dots and tiny lines, but are nevertheless laden with meaning. Children will make Chester's Way their own. Ruth Semrau, Lovejoy School, McKinney, Tex.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Kevin Henkes's charming story (Greenwillow Books, 1988) of two friends who are truly "two peas in a pod" comes to life in this quality production. Chester and Wilson do everything the same way, from cutting sandwiches to playing baseball. Then Lilly, of purple plastic purse fame, moves into the neighborhood. Lilly has her own way of doing things, and Chester and Wilson don't know quite what to make of her until the day she uses one of her disguises to frighten off some misbehaving older boys. Chester and Wilson look at Lilly in a new light, and discover that the three of them have more in common than they previously believed, and that perhaps different ways of doing things are just fine. Narrator Laura Hamilton keeps listeners engaged with her terrific intonation and distinct voice for each character. Background music and sound effects enhance the tale. One side of the recording has page-turn signals to help youngsters read along.-Judy Czarnecki, Chippewa River District Library System, Mt. Pleasant, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688154721
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1997
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 50,143
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 570L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.87 (h) x 0.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes is the author of Junonia, Sun & Spoon, Bird Lake Moon, and the Newbery Honor Book Olive's Ocean. He also writes and illustrates picture books, and among his many titles are the national bestsellers Little White Rabbit, My Garden, Old Bear, A Good Day, and Kitten's First Full Moon, for which he was awarded the Caldecott Medal. Mr. Henkes is also the creator of a series of books starring mouse characters, including the Penny books for beginning readers, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Chrysanthemum, and Owen, for which he was awarded a Caldecott Honor.

Kevin Henkes lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Kevin Henkes is the author of Junonia, Sun & Spoon, Bird Lake Moon, and the Newbery Honor Book Olive's Ocean. He also writes and illustrates picture books, and among his many titles are the national bestsellers Little White Rabbit, My Garden, Old Bear, A Good Day, and Kitten's First Full Moon, for which he was awarded the Caldecott Medal. Mr. Henkes is also the creator of a series of books starring mouse characters, including the Penny books for beginning readers, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Chrysanthemum, and Owen, for which he was awarded a Caldecott Honor.

Kevin Henkes lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Biography

Kevin Henkes still owns some of his favorite books from childhood. "They're brimming with all the telltale signs of true love: dog-eared pages, fingerprints on my favorite illustrations, my name and address inscribed on both front and back covers in inch-high lettering, and the faint smell of stale peanut butter on the bindings," he says in an interview on his web site.

Back in his peanut-butter sandwich days, Henkes dreamed of becoming an artist. By high school, he had combined his love of drawing with a newfound interest in writing, and at age 19, he took his portfolio to New York City in hopes of finding a publisher. Young Henkes returned home from his weeklong trip with a contract from Greenwillow Books, and he's worked as a children's writer and illustrator ever since.

Henkes's style has evolved over the years to include more humor, more whimsy and a lot more mice. Though he began illustrating his picture books with realistic drawings of children, he's since developed a recurring cast of mouse characters rendered in a more cartoon-like style -- though with a range of expressions that make the spirited Lilly, anxious Wemberly, fearless Sheila Rae and sensitive Chrysanthemum into highly believable heroines. Owen, the story of a little mouse who isn't ready to give up his tattered security blanket, won a Caldecott Honor Medal for its winsome watercolor-and-ink illustrations.

Many of Henkes's mouse books deal with such common childhood ordeals as starting school, being teased and getting lost. Chrysanthemum, about a mouse whose new schoolmates tease her about her name, was inspired by Henkes's own feelings when he started school. "The book is about family, and how starting something new and going out into the world can be very hard," he told an interviewer for The Five Owls. "I remember going to kindergarten -- my grandfather had a beautiful rose garden, and he gave me the last roses of the season to bring to the kindergarten teacher the next day. I don't even remember how it happened, but an older kid took these flowers from me on the playground, and I remember coming home, feeling awful." As a grown-up, Henkes is able to translate difficult childhood transitions into stories that are both honest and reassuring. In a review of Chrysanthemum, Kirkus Reviews noted: "Henkes's language and humor are impeccably fresh, his cozy illustrations sensitive and funny, his little asides to adults an unobtrusive delight."

Henkes has also written novels for older children, in which he "explores family relationships with breathtaking tenderness" (Publisher's Weekly). In The Birthday Room, for example, a twelve-year-old boy learns the reason for his mother's long estrangement from her brother, and helps effect a reconciliation. "Refreshingly, Henkes has given us a male protagonist who is reflective, creative and emotionally sensitive," wrote Karen Leggett in The New York Times Book Review. "Ben feels the anguish of his mother's long-simmering bitterness and his uncle's agonizing guilt. Yet at a time when it is almost a fad to blame dysfunctional families for problems, we learn that even though there are never simple answers and not many fairy-tale endings, families can heal."

Though his novels are more complex and serious than his picture books, all Henkes's works suggest an author with deep empathy for the intense emotions of childhood. As a Publisher's Weekly reviewer wrote, "Behind each book is a wide-open heart, one readers can't help but respond to, that makes all of Henkes's books of special value to children."

Good To Know

Henkes's wife, Laura Dronzek, is also an artist. She painted the cover illustration for Henkes' novel Sun and Spoon and illustrated his picture book Oh!.

Henkes has turned down requests to use his mouse characters in a television series, but some of his books are available in video form in Chrysanthemum and More Kevin Henkes Stories. The video's narrators include Meryl Streep, Sarah Jessica Parker and Mary Beth Hurt.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse has been adapted into a stage play.

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    1. Hometown:
      Madison, Wisconsin
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 27, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Racine, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin, Madison
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2009

    Friends!

    The book I chose to review is Chester's Way. The author is Kevin Henkes. I chose this book because it makes me happy whenever I read it. In this book there is a mouse named Chester. He just loves his own way of doing things. That was the beginning. In the middle he has a friend Wilson. He likes to do the same things. In the end a girl named Lilly moves in and they become friends. The big idea in this story is that it's ok to be different. Just to be friends. A great quote from the author is, "Chester had his own way of doing things." My best part is when Chester always cuts his sandwiches. I would recommend this book to someone looking for a great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2008

    texan mommy to 2 girls

    My kindergartner brought this home from school and we have read it a million times. I recently purchased 2 more of Henkes' books and we love those as well. All of his books let children relate their feelings to the feelings of the book's characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2010

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    Posted December 2, 2009

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