Mr. Wuffles! /

Mr. Wuffles ignores all his cat toys but one, which turns out to be a spaceship piloted by small green aliens. When Mr. Wuffles plays rough with the little ship, the aliens must venture into the cat's territory to make emergency repairs. Full description

Main Author: Wiesner, David.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York, N.Y. : Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013
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Review by New York Times Review

Is it a bird? No! Is it a plane? Sort of. It's Elecopter, a blue elephant with propellers and landing gear who flies over the African savanna returning baby birds to their nests, administering haircuts to lions and rescuing animals from wildfires. Slack ("Monkey Truck") sees great comic possibilities in his flying pachyderm's unusual abilities. Fierce in the face of danger and always kind, this motherly elephant gives Elecopter parenting a good name. A MAMMOTH IN THE FRIDGE By Michaƫl Escoffier. Illustrated by Matthieu Maudet. 36 pp. Gecko Press. $16.95. (Picture book; ages 3 and up) "Dad! Dad! There's a mammoth in the fridge," the big brother shouts. His father looks cross; his sister seems worried. After the fire department chases the poor mammoth up a tree, everyone goes to bed - until a little voice calls, "Here, kitty, kitty! " and brings the imaginary friend back home. Originally published in France, this amusing and absurd book gains much of its humor from Maudet's action-packed pencil drawings, colored in stylish blocks of intense orange, blue, red and white. ELEPHANT'S STORY Written and illustrated by Tracey Campbell Pearson. 40 pp. Margaret Ferguson Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $17.99. (Picture book; ages 4 to 8) As Gracie walks home from school, a book falls from her backpack. A well-meaning elephant finds it, sniffs the book's words right up his trunk, and sneezes them out in a jumble. Animal friends try to put the words back, but the alligator wants to eat them, the seal wants to juggle them, and so on. Like all the best books, this one can be read on several levels, and kids ready for simple deciphering will enjoy Pearson's anagrams. CINDERELEPHANT Written and illustrated by Emma Dodd. 32 pp. Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 4 to 8) With elephant books, the laughs seem to take care of themselves. Put an elephant on a bicycle, add some very silly puns ("Prince Trunky's decisions carry a lot of weight"), and just like that, you've given your readers a serious case of the giggles. Or does Dodd just make it look easy? In her retelling of "Cinderella," the fairy godmother is a furry godmouse and the stepsisters warthogs. Like Cinderelephant's huge slipper, subject and story are an unlikely but delightful fit. TUG-OF-WAR Written and illustrated by John Burningham. 32 pp. Candlewick Press. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 5 to 7) Not every storybook elephant is amiable. Burningham has rewritten an African folktale he illustrated 45 years ago, and his elephant is downright nasty. He and his pompous friend Hippopotamus bully Hare, calling him a "big-whiskered nerd" and a "sickly little twerp." Hare may be small, but he has a better brain than his tormentors, and plays a pretty good trick on them. Burningham's new text is typically unsentimental; school-age boys will probably find it outrageously funny. QUEENIE One Elephant's Story By Corinne Fenton. Illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe. 24 pp. Candlewick Press. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 5 to 7) The true story of Queenie, an Indian elephant captured in the wild and taken to the Melbourne Zoo, is imbued with a sense of the unknowability of such animals. For 40 years, children and other visitors to the zoo took howdah rides on Queenie's back, attended her birthday parties and fed her apples. But in 1944, she killed a keeper for no apparent reason. Gouldthorpe's realistic illustrations and Fenton's carefully researched history give this tale due poignancy. BITS AND PIECES Written and illustrated by Judy Schachner. 32 pp. Dial. $17.99. (Picture book; ages 3 to 5) "For a cat, Tink was an odd duck," Schachner begins, in the clever, joking voice of her Skippyjon Jones books. Seen in Schachner's fuzzy, soft-toned pictures, Tink, a bat-eared kitty with a brain "the size of a frozen pea," goofs around at home, licking the butter and generally getting into mischief. After a lifetime of hankering for the outdoors, he finally slips through the door and gets the adventure he's been yearning for. There's a lot more to it, and it's a delight from start to finish. CAPTAIN CAT Written and illustrated by Inga Moore. 48 pp. Candlewick Press. $15.99. (Picture book; ages 3 to 7) Captain Cat just can't say no to a furry face: his ship, the Carlotta, has more cats aboard than sailors. One day a storm blows him clear off the charts. The island where he lands has an exuberant teenage queen and a dreadful infestation of rats; Captain Cat's feline cargo is suddenly very valuable. Moore's detailed crosshatched pictures - in a style familiar from her illustrations for "The Wind in the Willows" and "The Secret Garden" - add charm to this warmhearted story. MR. WUFFLES! Written and illustrated by David Wiesner. 32 pp. Clarion Books. $17.99. (Picture book; ages 4 to 8) In this brilliant book, Wiesner ("Flotsam," "Tuesday") unleashes the dramatic visual storytelling that won him three Caldecott Medals. Mr. Wuffles, a house cat, has a silly name that belies his predatory nature. Uninterested in toys, he takes notice of a tiny spaceship. Alternating full-page illustrations with graphic- novel-like grids, Wiesner tells a tale of alien visitors and their ant allies. The dusty space under the radiator turns out to be the suburban equivalent of the Lascaux caves. LOST CAT Written and illustrated by C. Roger Mader. 32 pp. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $17.99. (Picture book; ages 4 to 8) "Lost Cat," Mader's first book for children, is as handsome as the big-eyed tabby that stares out from its cover. The cat, bereft of her owner and searching for a new human to adopt, encounters a trucker, a motorcycle man and even a horse, all depicted from the cat's low-to-the-ground perspective. Mader uses pastels to create his close-up illustrations; deep-hued woodland and sunset scenes communicate how big, mysterious and enticing the natural world is to this formerly housebound cat. DRAT THAT CAT! Written and illustrated by Tony Ross. 32 pp. Andersen Press USA. $16.95. (Picture book; ages 4 to 9) Suzy Cat has so much white fur she looks like a cross between a puli and Cousin Itt. Though beloved, she is no angel: she scratches a sofa to ribbons, piddles in Dad's golf bag, bites Grandpa and pulls down the curtains. "Drat that cat!" resounds through the house - until Suzy decides to remind her humans just how much they really love her. Everything about this book feels British, from Ross's slapdash drawings (not unlike those of Quentin Blake) to the family's cozy house and unsentimental, madcap expressions. Enjoy with a cup of tea, real or imaginary. ONLINE A slide show of this week's illustrated books at

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [October 13, 2013]
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Once again Wiesner dips into his irrepressible imagination to deliver a mostly wordless conceptual picture book where the mundane and the magical collide. Mr. Wuffles, an aloof, perspicacious black cat, takes no interest in his playthings, save one peculiar toy that looks something like a hobnail tea strainer. Closer inspection, like only Wiesner can provide, reveals that it is a miniature alien spacecraft experiencing mechanical trouble. Its little green passengers evade Mr. Wuffles and retreat to a hole beneath the radiator, where they discover a series of cave paintings immortalizing battles between the cat and troops of ants and ladybugs. The aliens and the bugs join forces and, speaking in rectangular pictographic word balloons (that some readers will thrill to decipher), hatch a plan to repair the spaceship, foil the feline, and return home. The drama plays out across long, low panels full of kinetic energy and comic detail, all captured in the artist's careful watercolor renderings. In the end, the mission is successful and the aliens escape, but not without leaving behind a few reminders of their visit and an updated record of the epic conflict on the inner wall. Wiesner's many fans will delight at poring over the detailed account of this master plan, again and again, discovering something new with each successive reading. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Wiesner is a three-time Caldecott winner. Three. Fans will be ready to pounce.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

Is anything so fraught with potential energy as a stalking cat, or as relaxed as a bored one? Mr. Wuffles disdains all the playthings he's offered -- until, amongst scorned balls and catnip mice, he spies a small spaceship and, entranced, toys with it for a page of dramatically paced frames. A page turn reveals tiny, green-skinned creatures within, upended, regrouping, puzzling over how to repair the damage. Helped by a cat-diverting ladybug, they flee to the space under a radiator, which harbors a thriving insect civilization complete with wall paintings of ants and ladybugs confronting fearsome cats. Despite the language barrier (both the aliens' and the bugs' speech are cleverly represented in non-alphabetic speech bubbles), the aliens establish communication with the ants by adding pictures of their recent troubles to the wall. Friendship ensues, food and technology are shared, repairs are made, and the cat is foiled with a heroic escape engineered by insects and green folk working together. 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. Moving from the here-and-now to the what-if, he defines points of view with such devices as angled sightlines and wallpaper stripes, and the benignly graceful folds of the little green people's robes -- not to mention black Mr. Wuffles, sweet puss or terror depending on your point of view. Since this is pretty much wordless, it takes some poring over to decode the action and its potent, neatly understated message. It's well worth it. joanna rudge long (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

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, MM, marble and metal screw. The insects have decorated the wall of their lair with drawings 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)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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