Walter Was Worried

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Opposite the simple declarative sentence, "Walter was worried" is a portrait of a very worried Walter. But wait! The letters that spell out his feelings form his facial characteristics, as well as his expression. Gradually a simple story unfolds: the sky grows dark, the fog rolls in, lightning lights the sky, and thunder shakes the trees; Priscilla was puzzled, Shirley was shocked, Frederick was frightened... and eventually (when the sun came out) Henry was hopeful, and Elliot ...
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Overview

Opposite the simple declarative sentence, "Walter was worried" is a portrait of a very worried Walter. But wait! The letters that spell out his feelings form his facial characteristics, as well as his expression. Gradually a simple story unfolds: the sky grows dark, the fog rolls in, lightning lights the sky, and thunder shakes the trees; Priscilla was puzzled, Shirley was shocked, Frederick was frightened... and eventually (when the sun came out) Henry was hopeful, and Elliot ecstatic.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Kids' reactions to a passing thunderstorm set the stage for a smart, alphabet-based game of I Spy. "Walter was worried when the sky grew dark," reads the text. Accompanying the alliterative language is a brightly painted portrait of the boy's face, his facial features crafted from the letters in the word worried. Indeed he is the picture of concern, his mouth a sideways D and raised eyebrows suggested by two tilted r's. Walter's friends further the tale ("Frederick was frightened" of thunder, for example). In the end, all ends well and "Elliot was ecstatic when the sun came out." (ages 4 to 6)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2005
Publishers Weekly
Seeger, who played with letterforms in The Hidden Alphabet, gives new meaning to the word "typeface" here. In this diverting book, oversize adjectives describe children's reactions to changing weather, and the letters in each word reappear in close-up portraits. "Walter was worried when... the sky grew dark," and a spiky W shape on Walter's cheek implies his anxiety. Observant readers soon notice that Walter's eyes are a lowercase O and E, printed in green, and his eyebrows are black lowercase Rs, tipped sideways; his nose is a long straight I, and his frown is a red capital D, turned flat side down. The storm gets worse ("Frederick was frightened when... thunder shook the trees"), but "Delilah was delighted when... the rain turned to snow." Seeger spells out eight key words in multicolored, variable type, then paints corresponding pictures with the tilting or upside-down shapes as facial features; abstract illustrations of flashing lightning and blowing leaves serve as a buffer between each descriptive portrait. The children's names match the alliterative adjectives ("Ursula was upset.... Henry was hopeful"), and readers toy with letter recognition and spelling as they search the faces. The design formula is uncomplicated, but typesetters will be tickled and printers pleased by Seeger's emotive imagery. Ages 3-7. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Laura Vaccaro Seeger, an Emmy award-winning artist, has once again created a distinct concept book for young readers. Children's faces (depicted with letters of the alphabet) react to thunder, fog, and other weather conditions. Seeger introduces children to feelings (worried, puzzled, shocked, frightened, upset, delighted, hopeful, and ecstatic) and weather changes. With colorful illustrations, Seeger takes young readers on an educational journey through the imagination. 2005, Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook Press, Ages 2 to 7.
—Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Seeger combines word art and simple text to tell the story of children's reactions to a storm. As it progresses from dark clouds to thunder to rain to snow and, finally, to sun, a different individual is introduced. The youngsters' emotions are literally spelled out on their faces (Walter was worried; Priscilla was puzzled; Shirley was shocked) as the letters of the alliterative adjectives are used to portray their features. For example, E's are put on their backs to become eyebrows; a C and a D are turned upside down to become eyes, and an L becomes a nose. The choice of names and adjectives is equally wide ranging and inventive, combining Ursula and Elliot with upset and ecstatic. The artwork uses bold colors with wide brush marks as backdrops and primary colors with almost graphic shapes to represent rain, snow flakes, leaves, and branches. With only one sentence per page, there is surprising depth in this wonderful collaboration of art and story.-Jane Marino, Bronxville Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Moods can change as quickly as the weather, and this innovative concept book cleverly illustrates the range and volatility of both. Walter, for example, was worried when the sky grew dark. The first spread reveals a full-page painting of Walter's concerned-looking face, where his very features are composed of letters that spell "worried"; the red D is his mouth, the green "o" and "e" are his eyes, etc. The next spread shows what worries Walter: a dramatic, charcoal-colored sky, contrasted by a red kite. In the second sequence, "Priscilla was puzzled when . . . " (note alliteration and turn the page) "the fog rolled in." In a lovely, muted painting, fog drifts through a forest, softening colors, including that of the reappearing red kite. By the end, the storm has passed, and the whole crew of eight traipses about under sunny skies with the red kite. Opportunities for read-aloud interaction abound here; children may enjoy spelling out the face-words or discussing how they feel in different climatic scenarios, from puzzling fog to shocking lightning to frightening thunder. (Picture book. 3-7)
From the Publisher

"Innovative ... Opportunities for read-aloud interaction abound here."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Typesetters will be tickled and printers pleased by Seeger's emotive imagery.
--Publishers Weekly

"There is surprising depth in this wonderful collaboration of art and story."
--School Library Journal

"A smart, alphabet-based game."
-- Best Book of 2005 Award, Child magazine

"With colorful illustrations, Seeger takes young readers on an educational journey through the imagination."
--Children's Literature

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596430686
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2005
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.36 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author


Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a New York Times best-selling author and illustrator and a 2-time winner of the Caldecott Honor Award, winner of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Best Picture Book, and a 2-time winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award. She is also the recipient of the Empire State Award for "Body of Work and Contribution to Children's Literature".
Laura's paintings have been exhibited at many museums and galleries including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, the Mazza Museum of Picture Book Art, the New York Public Library, and the New York Nassau County Museum of Art.
Laura grew up on Long Island, New York, with her parents, Vera and Phil, brothers, Billy and Tommy, sister, Linda, and both grandmothers. She began drawing at two years old and never stopped. She earned her BFA degree at the School of Fine Art and Design at the State University of New York at Purchase in Westchester, New York. She then moved to Manhattan and began a career as an animator, artist, designer, and editor in the network television business. She created show openings and special segments for NBC and ABC for many years and won an Emmy Award for an opening animation for an NBC Special.
Laura has been an artist and a writer for as long as she can remember and has always wanted to make picture books for children. In the fifth grade, she'd written an essay that stated with absolute certainty that she was born to make picture books. By that time, she had written and illustrated her own little library. Over the years, she continued to make books of all shapes and sizes and several years ago, she decided it was time to try to get some of her books published. She was fortunate to have met her editor, Neal Porter, almost immediately. They are now starting work on their sixteenth book together and have plans for many more.
Laura lives in Rockville Centre, New York, with her husband, Chris, their two sons, Drew and Dylan, and their dog, Copper, the star of her "Dog and Bear" series. She loves painting, writing, surfing, boating, tennis, running, playing the piano, and spending time with her family and friends. She takes long walks at the beach each day and paints in her studio each night.

Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a New York Times best-selling author and illustrator and a 2-time winner of the Caldecott Honor Award, winner of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Best Picture Book, and a 2-time winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award. She is also the recipient of the Empire State Award for "Body of Work and Contribution to Children's Literature".
Laura's paintings have been exhibited at many museums and galleries including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, the Mazza Museum of Picture Book Art, the New York Public Library, and the New York Nassau County Museum of Art.
Laura grew up on Long Island, New York, with her parents, Vera and Phil, brothers, Billy and Tommy, sister, Linda, and both grandmothers. She began drawing at two years old and never stopped. She earned her BFA degree at the School of Fine Art and Design at the State University of New York at Purchase in Westchester, New York. She then moved to Manhattan and began a career as an animator, artist, designer, and editor in the network television business. She created show openings and special segments for NBC and ABC for many years and won an Emmy Award for an opening animation for an NBC Special.
Laura has been an artist and a writer for as long as she can remember and has always wanted to make picture books for children. In the fifth grade, she'd written an essay that stated with absolute certainty that she was born to make picture books. By that time, she had written and illustrated her own little library. Over the years, she continued to make books of all shapes and sizes and several years ago, she decided it was time to try to get some of her books published. She was fortunate to have met her editor, Neal Porter, almost immediately. They are now starting work on their sixteenth book together and have plans for many more.
Laura lives in Rockville Centre, New York, with her husband, Chris, their two sons, Drew and Dylan, and their dog, Copper, the star of her "Dog and Bear" series. She loves painting, writing, surfing, boating, tennis, running, playing the piano, and spending time with her family and friends. She takes long walks at the beach each day and paints in her studio each night.

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