April 28, 2017

Wade's Wiggly Antlers

Written by Louise Bradford
Illustrated by Christine Battuz
Kids Can Press
978-1-77138-615-9
32 pp.
Ages 3-7
May 2017

Wade loves his antlers.  They look like trumpets and are the basis for much imaginative play with his squirrel, fox and bird friends.  But when he feels them wiggle, he panics and races home (hoping that doesn't jostle them!) to his mother.  She reminds him that they'd already talked about his antlers falling off and then growing new ones in the summer but Wade is distraught, knowing all the wonderful things he does with them: paddles for ping pong; perches for friends; mitts for softball; and hooks for kite-flying.  Desperate to hold onto his antlers, Wade keeps himself from fun with his friends so as to prevent the antlers from falling off.  But, after days of life on the sidelines, Wade realizes he's already missing out on fun with his friends and vows to start living again, come what may. (And we all know what comes because growing up is all about change.)
From Wade's Wiggly Antlers
by Louise Bradford
illus. by Christine Battuz
Your little ones will probably not be worried about losing their antlers but there are changes that may cause them anxiety, such as losing their baby teeth.  Yes, it may be natural and something that happens to all children but that dismissal will not alleviate the stress that can arise.  His mother is wise enough to have prepared Wade for the inevitable loss of his antlers but she also consoles him with the knowledge that he would grow new antlers in time. She is a very wise mother.  But Wade still needs to work through this in his own way, and thankfully Louise Bradford allows him to do so with the support of his family and friends.  There's even a party with colourful cupcakes to celebrate when his first antlers are lost.
From Wade's Wiggly Antlers 
by Louise Bradford
illus. by Christine Battuz
Louise Bradford's text is very comprehensive in evoking Wade's distress and his mother's wise reassurances but it's Quebec illustrator Christine Battuz who uses her digital art to create playful scenes of Wade with his family and friends.  She capably gives him expressions of delight and concern and surprise with but a few strokes of her digital artistry.  Even his little friends are expressive in those same emotions and more, including the tiny blue jay and cardinal that flit around the larger animals. Christine Battuz uses bright colours and bold patterns to energize her illustrations, even in the cool sobriety of winter, the time of moose antler shedding. See if Wade's sweater with contrasting wrist and waist ribbing, along with his dotted scarf, don't bring a smile to your face.  
From Wade's Wiggly Antlers
by Louise Bradford
illus. by Christine Battuz
While it may seem silly to release a winter-based book in May, Wade's Wiggly Antlers is actually a timeless book since kids will be losing their first teeth all year round (unlike moose who shed their antlers between December and March).  Let Wade and his friends help lighten your own children's anxieties, whether it be about loose teeth or some other growing up change, or, if they're fearless, use Wade's Wiggly Antlers to teach some science about seasonal changes and ecology.  Either way, there's some playful learning to be had.
From Wade's Wiggly Antlers
by Louise Bradford
illus. by Christine Battuz

No comments: