Saturday, March 12, 2016

Browne, Anthony. Willy’s Stories.

Browne, Anthony.  Willy’s Stories.  Candlewick Press  2015  np  $16.99  ISBN 978-0-7636-7761-9  elem/ms     Misc.  E-BN

Although designed to appear as a children’s book, the content inside the covers of this delightful volume is not for young children.  Instead, older elementary-school-aged children who have had a bit of experience with such famous works as Treasure Island or The Wind in the Willows are the targeted readership.  Anthony Browne opens the world of books to his main character Willy, the famous monkey in Browne’s Voices in the Park.  In vintage Browne style, he depicts Willy opening a variety of doors, behind which lie brief summaries of scenes from ten famous children’s books.  He invites young readers to guess who made the footprint in Robinson Crusoe, he entices children to guess who Dorothy met after she woke up in The Wizard of Oz, and he appeals to children’s desire to participate in a book and really interact with the text.  Each illustration is done in signature Browne colors and it has an appeal that matches the content.  One can easily imagine a classroom teacher introducing a famous work to his/her students by first reading this book.  Willy ends by asking all children to go on some of their own adventures, inferring that these adventures can be found in books.  How creative is this?  The sky is the limit on the possibilities for use of this book.  Just open it, read one of the descriptions, and turn your children or students loose on a drawing assignment.  Or, better yet, have them write their own stories!     

Summary: Willy describes scenes from ten famous children’s books and then invites children to answer a question about each book.  The author’s purpose is to encourage young readers to read.

Classic literature, Reading-Fiction             --Martha Squaresky

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