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Necks Out for Adventure!: The True Story of Edwin Wiggleskin

Overview

What if a tiny wiggleskin dared to leave his shell and stick his neck out? A warm, whimsical tale from the illustrator of THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX.

For as long as anyone could remember, the wiggleskins have lived by a simple rule: Necks out to eat, and necks in to hide. But then comes the dreadful day when all the wiggleskins are ripped from their holes and taken away — all but a brave little wiggleskin named Edwin. To save his mom and the rest of the clan, Edwin must shuck his ...

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Overview

What if a tiny wiggleskin dared to leave his shell and stick his neck out? A warm, whimsical tale from the illustrator of THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX.

For as long as anyone could remember, the wiggleskins have lived by a simple rule: Necks out to eat, and necks in to hide. But then comes the dreadful day when all the wiggleskins are ripped from their holes and taken away — all but a brave little wiggleskin named Edwin. To save his mom and the rest of the clan, Edwin must shuck his shell and adopt a new rule: Necks out for adventure! Timothy Basil Ering’s boisterous and warmhearted adventure will have you cheering for Edwin — and for plucky souls everywhere who dare stick their necks out.

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Editorial Reviews

Elizabeth Ward
…[Ering] tells and shows the story of a funny-looking undersea creature who dares to defy his mud-dwelling clan's rule…Ering is fond of Roald Dahl-like neologisms (hornly scratchers and scrintalberry leaves, anyone?), and his wiggleskins have the dashed-off, loopy look favored by Dahl's regular illustrator, Quentin Blake. But his olive and aquamarine seas and sun-washed beaches are the work of a born landscape artist.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

In this strange concoction about a daring clam, Ering (The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone) recommends a maverick approach over groupthink. Ering doesn't call a clam a clam, though. He uses the term "wiggleskins" for his purple-gray protagonists, snug in the mud with their french fry-shaped heads protruding. "They all lived by a simple system: Necks out to eat and... necks in to hide." But after the other mollusks get scooped up by a grotesque creature with "two huge filthy feet," young Edward takes "Necks out for adventure!" as his motto, squeezes out of his shell and saves his relatives from becoming paella. In the acrylic-and-ink illustrations, Ering slathers the seashore in slimy greens and foamy oyster-grays. His underwater tableaux and beachscapes, while edgy, go easy on the eye-he washes the page in textures that look like the breaking of waves and seafoam, whereas his on-land scenes, crowded with detail, can be hard to decode. As in Frog Belly, he invents an odd hero who will leave some readers shaking their heads. By the same token, brave Edward is weird enough (and semitransparent, with his digestive system visible through his skin) to charm coastal kids and those with an off-kilter sense of humor. Ages 4-7. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature
Meet the odd, clam-like creatures called the wiggleskins. As the ocean current flows in and out, they live in the mud, following the rule: “Necks out to eat, and necks in to hide.” But young Edwin’s mother encourages him to stick his neck out for adventure. One day, before they can hide, all the wiggleskins are taken away except for Edwin. Boldly, he pushes out of his shell. He is soon deposited on the sand by a wave, snatched up by a stinky hornly scratcher, and tossed into a cooking pot. When taken out, Edwin bravely squirts the hornly scratcher in the eye and runs away. Outside, he finds his parents and all the other wiggleskins in a cage. He encourages them to put their necks out of their shells and run to the shore. Aided by rain, they are welcomed back by the ocean. “Necks out for adventure” is the new motto. Using ink drawings, acrylic paints, and imagination, Ering manages to make us forget the life and death possibilities of Edwin’s adventures. The front endpapers set the stage, showing a seashore with footprints. We meet the wiggleskins on a double page; they are odd creatures with big mouths. Their capture is a bit frightening. The miraculous escape of our hero and his friends lead to the final endpapers, which show the frustrated hornly scratcher and the empty shells. Red polka-dotted leaves add a note throughout. The brief but evocative text, “typeset in Tim Ering,” has a hand-lettered look. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 4- This quirky story is about a brave bivalve who leaves his shell to rescue his family and friends when they are harvested to eat. The text is sometimes a little confusing: Edwin Wiggleskin asks his mother, "What would happen if we flowed with the current?" and she replies, "Stick your neck out for adventure like you always do." Since all the bivalves stick their necks out to eat, this advice does not seem to move the story forward. It is leaving the shell that initiates the adventure. The acrylic-and-ink illustrations are not always easy to decipher: body parts are very thin and elongated, and individual details blend into background colors. However, they are often humorous: in one, the wiggleskins look frantic as the two big feet of the stinky hornly scratcher who is trying to catch them appear in the water above the sand where they are trying to hide; another pictures Edwin leaping with joy as he frees himself from his shell; and in one image, the face of the hornly scratcher looks very similar to Seuss's Grinch. An illustration of a large curling wave reminiscent of Katsushika Hokusai's The Great Wave reveals beautiful shades of blue and green. Edwin is an endearing character; it is his story that sometimes bogs down in the mud from which he emerges.-Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763623555
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 1/8/2008
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 586,092
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.15 (w) x 10.18 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothy Basil Ering is the illustrator of Newbery Medal winner THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX by Kate DiCamillo and the author-illustrator of THE STORY OF FROG BELLY RAT BONE. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2008

    Wonderful for kids and grown-ups, too!

    My class of five-year-olds loved this book (and also The Tale of Frog Belly Rat Bone). The creative illustrations and clever storyline make the book entertaining for any age plus, we learn from Edwin to believe in ourselves!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2007

    A reviewer

    It's Thanksgiving and I have just had the pleasure of hearing this book for the first time...hot off the presses. Edwin is able to show us all the courage that we are sometimes afraid of showing. He warmed our families' hearts...Thanks and bravo to you Uncle Tim!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2008

    Outstanding!!!

    I cant wait to bring my daughter to purchase this book! We are so proud of you brother Tim!Thanks for bringing tons of laughs and inspiration to all who know you!! To all native Cape Codders who have moved off Cape...read this book and you will be able to smell the bay and feel the sand between your toes once again!

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