"This fantastical picture book, like its hero, is bursting at the seams with creativity. . . . a vigorous shot in the arm to nonconformists everywhere" -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Enter the witty, intriguing world of Weslandia! Now that school is over, Wesley needs a summer project. He's learned that each civilization needs a staple food crop, so he decides to sow a garden and start his own -- civilization, that is. He turns over a plot of earth, and plants begin to grow. They soon tower above him and bear a curious-looking fruit. As Wesley experiments, he finds that the plant will provide food, clothing, shelter, and even recreation. It isn't long before his neighbors and classmates develop more than an idle curiosity about Wesley -- and exactly how he is spending his summer vacation.
Ages 5-8. With parents who seem to have leaped straight out of the 1950s, and kids with haircuts that yell "1990s," there's an appealing quirkiness about this purposeful fantasy, which is ripe with possibilities for discussion and guaranteed to be a favorite with every outsider child. Ingenious Wesley is an outcast in a society of sameness: "He alone in his town disliked pizza and soda, alarming his mother and the school nurse." Bullying and parental pressure have little effect, merely solidifying his focus on the science he so loves. When he hits on the idea for using what he's learned for a summer project, his parents scoff . . . until the magical seeds he cultivates yield an extraordinary crop that serves as the basis for a new civilization, Weslandia. Playful wit and cleverness mark the text as practical, farsighted Wesley wins over his detractors and validates himself. A lot of the charm is in the large, richly colored, double-spread artwork. Children will want to spend plenty of time with it, not only looking for reappearing motifs but also mulling over the multitude of fine, funny details. It melds beautifully with the text, creating a wonderfully appealing scenario--a kid taking charge, loving it, and succeeding brilliantly on his own terms.