Wemberly Worried

( 5 )

Overview

A back-to-school favorite

Wemberly worried about spilling her juice, about shrinking in the bathtub, even about snakes in the radiator. She worried morning, noon, and night. "Worry, worry, worry," her family said. "Too much worry." And Wemberly worried about one thing most of all: her first day of school. But when she meets a fellow worrywart in her class, Wemberly realizes that school is too much fun to waste time worrying!

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Overview

A back-to-school favorite

Wemberly worried about spilling her juice, about shrinking in the bathtub, even about snakes in the radiator. She worried morning, noon, and night. "Worry, worry, worry," her family said. "Too much worry." And Wemberly worried about one thing most of all: her first day of school. But when she meets a fellow worrywart in her class, Wemberly realizes that school is too much fun to waste time worrying!

A mouse named Wemberly, who worries about everything, finds that she has a whole list of things to worry about when she faces the first day of nursery school.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Fans of Kevin Henkes's loveable mice heroines from Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Chrysanthemum, and Sheila Rae, the Brave, will be delighted to meet little worrywart Wemberly. Poor Wemberly worries about everything: What if the tree in the front yard falls on her house? What if no one comes to her birthday party? Or worse: what if too many mice come and there isn't enough cake? Now, her newest worry is her biggest one yet: the first day of nursery school. But when she meets another mouse who is just like her, she has one less worry: Now she has a friend -- and school is fun. A fresh, funny, heartwarming book, Wemberly Worried offers a reassuring look at starting school, making friends, and growing up.
New York Times Book Review
“Wemberly shows that being human is cause for celebration, even if you’re a mouse.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Henkes (Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse) introduces another wonderfully appealing child-mouse with a stubborn habit: worrying. Wemberly, a shy white mouse with gray spots, always feels nervous whether at home or away. "At the playground, Wemberly worried about/ the chains on the swings,/ and the bolts on the slide,/ and the bars on the jungle gym." She tells her father, "Too rusty. Too loose. Too high," while sitting on a park bench watching the other mice play. Her security blanket, a rabbit doll named Petal (whose spot over the left eye matches her own), rarely leaves her grip. Henkes adroitly juggles the main narrative, hand-lettered asides and watercolor-and-ink imagery of the young pessimist and her supportive parents; each element contributes a different strength. For instance, as he lists Wemberly's worries, "Big things" heads the list, paired with a vignette of the heroine checking on her parents in the middle of the night with a flashlight, "I wanted to make sure you were still here." He later shows how Wemberly's anxieties peak at the start of nursery school with huge text that dwarfs tiny illustrations. At this overwhelming moment, Wemberly meets another girl mouse, Jewel, who turns out to be a kindred spirit (she even carries her own worn doll). Henkes offers no pat solutions, handling the material with uncanny empathy and gentleness; while playing with Jewel, "Wemberly worried. But no more than usual. And sometimes even less." This winning heroine speaks to the worrywart in everyone. Ages 4-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
From The Critics
Wemberly, the newest member of Kevin Henkes' mouse menagerie, worries about everything. She worries that no one will come to her birthday party. When a darling mob of mice descends, she worries there won't be enough cake. Wemberly's parents urge her not to worry so much. Yet their own brows furrow, just like their daughter's. Meanwhile, Wemberly's grandma sports plaid shorts, a cane and roller blades, and a sweatshirt emblazoned "Go With the Flow." Henkes' familiar drawing style is as charming as ever. Bright watercolor washes are overlaid with bold dabs. His fluid ink lines are thick and black for the biggest shapes. Sketchy hatch lines add form to the colors, while lending a hint of delicacy. Henkes fans will delight in his joke-filled Halloween parade: mice dressed as cheese; a tiny mouse-elephant; a pajama-clad mouse wearing a Richard Scarry cat head; and a ghost with a Groucho Marx mustache, red boots and a purple plastic purse. Of course, it must be Lilly under there, famous from a book of her own. Design-wise, a Henkes mouse has no mouth unless it is closed and smiling. Hence, Henkes relies on eyes, eyebrows, and staging to enhance emotion. Delightful examples include the mouse-packed park or crowded classroom, where Henkes gives most mice downcast gazes, leading viewers to the characters with wide-open eyes: Wemberly, of course, and those most to her. Yet Wemberly's pivotal relationship with her bunny doll, Petal, is difficult to pin down. An early illustration shows a "little thing" Wemberly worries about: spilled juice. But the purple juice has stained the tablecloth and is now at table's edge, about to cascade onto the prone, helpless form of dear, yellow Petal.Surely such an accident would be no small thing! Especially since, a few pages later, we are told that Wemberly always worries about Petal. On that same page, we see a picture where Wemberly believes that "Petal is lost forever!" Yet Wemberly's posture is upright, and only one tear makes her expression different than before. Worse, the feared loss is only one event of many worries listed on the page, minimizing its importance. Henkes wanted to save the heights of emotion for Wemberly's greatest worry: starting school. The growth of this anxiety is beautifully orchestrated with page design: growing type size, followed by small type with big pictures, then huge type with small forms. All ends happily, as Henkes fans know it will. Wemberly's teacher, the aptly-named Miss Peachums, immediately introduces our heroine to another young worry-wart. And friendship, it seems, leaves less time for worry. Wemberly is too busy to do anything but smile for the last five pages. Readers will be smiling long before. 2000, HarperCollins, $15.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Diana Star Helmer — The Five Owls, September/October 2000 (Vol. 15 No. 1)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-This is a sparkling telling of the popular story by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow, 2000). The anthropomorphic mouse worries about everything. Now Wemberly must face her biggest fear yet, the first day of school. Laura Hamilton provides a fine narration and an appropriately concerned and subdued mouse-like voice for Wemberly. She also narrates the text and provides the asides of many characters throughout the story. Wemberly's worries range from whether she might shrink in the bath to whether there may be a snake hiding in the radiator. Of course, Wemberly's parents and go-getting grandmother are supportive of her concerns. At school, Wemberly discovers a wealth of fun activities and a fellow worrier, Jewel. Background sound effects provide a nice touch running water for the bath, hissing for the radiator, etc. One side of the tape has page-turn signals, while on side two the story is told uninterrupted. Henkes has really tapped into children's fears, and they will relate to the appealing Wemberly and her many worries. This package is an excellent vehicle to address children's fears about starting school. A welcome addition for public and school libraries.-Maren Ostergard, Bellevue Regional Library, King County Library System, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Childrens Book Watch
In Kevin Hanks thoroughly charming picturebook Wimberly Worried, Wemberly the mouse worries about everything, all the time, everywhere. Even though her parents and her friends try to reassure her and tell her not to worry. Kevin Henkes deftly writes and colorfully illustrates a delightful little picturebook tale will thoroughly entertain young readers even as it assures them that they, too, need never worry about everything, all the time. Other highly recommended "mouse" books by Kevin Henkes for young readers include Lily's Purple Plastic Purse; Owen; Chrysanthemum; Julius, The Baby Of The World; Chester's Way; Sheila Rae, The Brave; and A Weekend With Wendell.
—Childrens Book Watch
Kirkus Reviews
As a chronic worrier and an extremely anxious young mouse, life is hard for Wemberly. Her worries range from big life issues-what will she do if her parents disappear-to the mundane-what to do if she spills juice on her special doll Petal? Unfortunately her parents, although concerned, are not much help, merely telling her to stop worrying so much, rather than teaching her how to cope with her anxieties. And Wemberly's well-meaning grandmother just tells her to loosen up and have some fun. Every aspect of life raises new worries for Wemberly-she worries in bed in the morning and evenings, worries as she plays in the yard or reads in a big comfy chair, and worries about the equipment in the playground falling apart. Soon the biggest worry ever in Wemberly's young life rears its ugly head-nursery school is on the horizon. The concomitant list of worries it engenders is Wemberly's longest ever (cleverly depicted by a double-paged spread featuring larger and larger type against a background of question marks). The school worries are typical going-to-school fears-what if Wemberly can't find the bathroom when she needs it, what if she's the only one who has brought her doll to school, and so on. Funnily, Wemberly's parents don't seem to have prepared her very well for starting school-her worries could have been easily addressed had they told her more about what to expect. But amazingly (and not very believably) things go wonderfully well at school after Wemberly meets a kindred spirit, another worried little mouse named Jewel with whom she becomes fast friends. In an overly pat ending, Wemberly happily goes home at the end of her first day of school, already looking forward to the secondday.Henkes's best works-Chrysanthemum (1991) and Lily's Purple Plastic Purse (1996), among others-are masterpieces, capturing and distilling the essence of universal childhood experiences. Unfortunately, Wemberly Worried doesn't fall into this category. It's hard to buy that her personality could undergo so radical a change just because she finds a new friend. Surely a new friendship would bring with it a whole new set of worries. The reader actually feels sorry for Wemberly, who doesn't seem to be enjoying life very much. Maybe some mouse therapy is called for. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061857768
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/27/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 34,482
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.20 (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

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2000

    Great Read Aloud

    Kevin Henkes always has wonderful and interesting characters in his stories and Wemberly is no exception! This book also has great illustrations! They are colorful, large and filled with emotion! Boys and Girls can relate to the character (Wemberly) and the subject of going off to school for the first time. I am a second grade teacher, and I love reading Kevin Henkes' books aloud (with great expression) to my students! This book is also great for reading out loud to children. I hope that you will give this book a chance because it is a great story with interesting characters and expressive pictures.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I love this book!

    I feel like Kevin Henkes glimpsed into my childhood as a little girl and wrote about me!! Now I share this book and all the other books by Kevin Henkes with my 1st graders every year.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2008

    Wemberly Worried

    I strongly reccommend this book to any parent or teacher working with young children. This book does an excellent job of relating to young children and the many worries that they may have. The character, Wemberly, is a very lovable mouse that many children will be able to relate to. The book deals with the issue of anxiety as Wemberly gets ready to begin school. This book will help many children better transition into the school setting, and other changes in life as well. Wemberly Worried is an outstanding book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2000

    Wonderful Help for parents and preschool children

    Wemberly Worried is a wonderful book to ease the transition to school for parents and preschool children. The mouse is a delightful character that the children will embrace and understand. I have used this book with a number of families at the beginning of this school year. Parents mentioned that the children were delighted with the pictures and character and it helped them work through some of their worries about being away from their parents. Wemberly seems to reflect the feelings of young children. The book is outstanding.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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