December 05, 2017

Woodrow at Sea

Written and illustrated by Wallace Edwards
Pajama Press
978-1-77278-029-1
24 pp.
Ages 3-5
November 2017

Not since an owl and a pussycat set off to sea have two wholly unlikely friends shared a boat on the open water.  But the story of Woodrow at Sea is less love story than story of friendship and a far more poignant one than Edward Lear's nonsense poem.
From Woodrow at Sea 
by Wallace Edwards
When Woodrow, the elephant, waves goodbye to his family, setting off on his adventure with only a boat, a paddle and a spyglass, he could never imagine finding a small white mouse marooned on a purplish mound in the open water.  The mouse tells of his own tale of saying goodbye to his own family who gift him with a compass and heading out in a teacup vessel until upturned by a purple, gold and orange creature. 
From Woodrow at Sea 
by Wallace Edwards
Together the travellers set out to seek adventure, with the mouse teaching Woodrow to sing. When a foul cloud blows in nasty weather and the calm sea is awoken into turmoil, the little mouse uses the spyglass to rescue Woodrow. Together they battle their way to calmer waters and, though they both return to their different island homes, they're both richer for their encounter and adventures.
From Woodrow at Sea
by Wallace Edwards
Because Woodrow at Sea is a wordless book, author-illustrator Wallace Edwards allows his illustrations to carry the story.  But it really isn't just one story.  Everyone will read something different into his touching and considerate artwork.  Though less elaborate than his art in earlier books such as Once Upon a Line (Pajama Press, 2015) and Unnatural Selections (Orca, 2014), Wallace Edwards provides more than enough depth of detail for our youngest readers to interpret the illustrations in a myriad of ways.  They will easily recognize the value of friendship and teamwork but there will be questions.  Why did Wallace Edwards choose and elephant and a mouse? Are the elephant and mouse singing or whistling?  Does Woodrow know how to sing or did the mouse have to teach him?  Were the two animals planning on an extended adventure that was interrupted by calamity or were these just day trips? When recounting their adventures to family, why did they focus on different events though both emphasize the goodwill of the other?  For a story told with no words, Woodrow at Sea has much to tell.  And a lesson in creative thinking and visual literacy would not go amiss here.

Woodrow at Sea is truly a story about the importance of friendship and the good fortune of having a friend who has your back when seas get a little rough. It may not always be an angry ocean or a purple monster, but there's always something that is eased with the support of a friend.
From Woodrow at Sea 
by Wallace Edwards
🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊

Wallace Edwards will launch his newest picture book this weekend in Toronto. Details for this event were posted here.

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