Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Whiffy Wilson, the wolf who wouldn’t wash

Whiffy Wilson, the wolf who wouldn’t wash by Caryl Hart,  illustrated by Leonie Lord (Orchard/Hachette)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978 1 40830 918 6
Reviewed by Hilary Smillie

Caryl Hart’s rhyming story about a naughty wolf is witty and fun. Wilson refuses to take a bath and his fur and body is alive with creepy crawlies, ear wax and other unsavoury elements which contribute to his wiffiness. He has horrible habits of wiping his fingers on his clothes after eating and never changing his underwear.

Wilson’s mum roars at him to take a bath, but instead he runs away to the neighbour’s shed and spends the night, unwashed but happy, under a pile of coal sacks. His best friend, Dotty, comes in to the shed in the morning and shrieks at the smell. She thinks he is a monster, but when she discovers it is Wilson, she takes her smelly friend in hand. She drags him inside and drops him in a hot and soapy bath, then cleans him from head to foot.

They run out to play and become thoroughly grubby. Dotty explains there is a difference between good dirt which gets washed off in the tub each night, and bad dirt which is germy, smelly and can make you sick.

That’s just perfect,” Wilson beamed.
“Being mucky is all right!
As long as I can have a bath
And wash it off at night!”

Caryl Hart has created a learning story all young children will relate to and enjoy. Leonie Lord has supported the amusing rhyming verse with crayon and wash illustrations which are simple but very effective. Whiffy Wilson is a great read for both parents and young children, and older brothers and sisters, too.

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