Mr. Wuffles, a handsome black cat with white paws and an arrogant air, couldn’t care less about the many toys purchased for his amusement. But he homes in on a metal object (imagine two doll-size colanders soldered shut), imperiling the tiny green aliens inside. Mr. Wuffles bats their spaceship about playfully, damaging it, and in a daring move, the aliens break for safety under the radiator. Wiesner constructs his story in a mix of full spreads and comics-style panels. Though the artwork, done in watercolor and India ink, is superbly colored and composed, the most inventive aspect of the story may be the hieroglyphic language the three-time Caldecott Medalist has invented for his aliens: this is a nearly wordless book full of dialogue no one (excepting maybe Wiesner) will know how to speak aloud. The aliens succeed in befriending the insects that live within the walls of the house, and together they concoct a plan to outwit Mr. Wuffles—yes, humans aren’t even a factor in this story of extraterrestrial first contact. Wiesner once again produces a fantasy adventure that isn’t like anything else around. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
"Expertly imagined, composed, drawn and colored, this is Wiesner at his best."
—Kirkus, starred review
"Wiesner once again produces a fantasy adventure that isn't like anything else around."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"This exemplary Wiesnerian blend of ordinary and extraordinary incorporates the delights of Borrowers-style innovations, quintessential cat behavior, and Wiesner's own exquisitely fashioned art."
—The Horn Book Magazine, starred review
"Once again Wiesner dips into his impressible imagination to deliver a mostly wordless conceptual picture book where the mundane and the magical collide. . . .Wiesner is a three-time Caldecott winner. Three. Fans will be ready to pounce."
—Booklist, starred review
"Visual storytelling at its best."
—School Library Journal, starred review
"The award-winning Wiesner (his trophy collection would make Meryl Streep blush) is a master of the form, a magical realist who makes the commonplace seem suddenly more interesting."
—The Atlantic Wire
“Fans of Tuesday will recognize Wiesner’s easy shift from the mundane to the fantastical here as well as his deft and plausible creation of a skewed reality. . . . On a more dramatic note, there’s a Spielberg/Lucas level of glory to the bold ant-back and ladybug-flying escape scenes (you can practically hear the John Williams score).”
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
K-Gr 4—Mr. Wuffles ignores all his fancy cat toys. Still sporting price tags, they line the hallway as he strolls by. But resting quietly among the feathers, balls, and mice is a tiny metal spaceship, and this catches his attention. His playful batting knocks around the alien explorers inside, causing bumps but no injuries. The ship's flying disks do not survive, however, and the aliens set out to explore the house and repair their craft. Barely escaping Mr. Wuffles's claws, they dash behind the radiator and discover primitive art of the cat's previous battles and make friends with the house's insects. The bugs help the aliens repair the spaceship, avoid capture, and fly away. Nearly wordless, the story is told through pictures and the languages of the ants and aliens, depicted by dashes and symbols. The book is fairly complex, best suited for elementary students, who will enjoy decoding the aliens' cryptographic alphabet. Wiesner humorously captures the curiosity and confusion of Mr. Wuffles and his human, who remains oblivious to the drama underfoot. The idea of a separate, tiny world next to ours makes a great premise, and Wiesner's engaging art and lively pacing carry the day. Visual storytelling at its best.—Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR
A house cat pooh-poohs most proffered toys and gets his comeuppance tangling with a tiny alien spacecraft and its penny-sized adventurers. Peppered with speech bubbles in English, alien- or insect-speak, Wiesner's multipaneled tour de force treats the green ETs to maximum upheaval. Their initial celebration at landing turns to mayhem as their craft is buffeted by Mr. Wuffles. The aliens assess a smoldering engine part and disembark for help. The ensuing comic interplay pits cat against aliens as the tiny ones flee beneath a radiator cover. A ladybug and several ants assist them, and the repair's successfully made by harvesting cross sections of detritus: pencil eraser, M&M, marble and metal screw. The insects have decorated the wall of their lair with drawings à la Lascaux, the menacing Mr. Wuffles depicted prominently. After sketching a game plan, with insects playing transport and diversionary roles, the crew escapes back to the ship. Against oak floorboards and wallpaper prettily conveyed in ink and watercolor, the now-crazed Mr. Wuffles is riveted to the radiator, perplexing his human. Final panels show the cat gazing out the window, claws fruitlessly deployed; ants draw new scenes on their wall. Wiesner truly "gets" cats: An end-flap photo shows that the artist's "model" for the beleaguered Mr. Wuffles is indeed a household denizen. Expertly imagined, composed, drawn and colored, this is Wiesner at his best. (Picture book. 4-8)