illustrated by George Booth
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
A "What's wrong with this picture?" book!
Dr. Seuss's verse takes a back seat in this Beginner Book featuring a succession of illustrations with a progressively increasing number of things wrong in them.
You remember this kind of picture puzzle from growing up. (Perhaps most famously in Highlights Magazine, which still exists!) An apparently sensible picture contains a number of visual impossibilities for you to find.
Seuss (writing as Theo. LeSieg) and George Booth take it to a new level here, with some written context (a little girl wakes up on to a particularly wacky Wednesday) and a progression of unlikelihoods, whereby each page has more wrong with it than the previous.
When the little girl wakes up (and isn't it nice to have a female main character from Seuss for a change?), there's a shoe stuck to her wall. But by the time dusk approaches, cars are flying, planes are driving, fish are fishing and headless mothers are pushing baby carriages.
It was a wise decision to have someone other than Seuss to illustrate this book. After all, is a Cat in the Hat a sign of "wackiness" or just the way things tend to look in Seuss world? George Booth, a New Yorker cartoonist, depicts things realistically enough that his unreality stands out appropriately.
The Seussian rhymes will get pretty much forgotten, as it takes much more time to find all the wrongness than it will to hear the accompanying text, so it's appropriate that the story itself isn't particularly absorbing.
The little girl seems to be pretty much the only person shocked by the unusual goings-on. A friendly, three-legged policeman assures her that things will get back to normal though.
"Only twenty things more will be wacky," he said.
Wacky Wednesday is a nice bit of visual fun that'll sharpen your child's powers of observation, and it doubles as a counting book to boot.
Webmaster's note: If you think Seuss's Wednesday is wacky, it's NOTHING compared to the wackiness of David Wiesner's Caldecott Medal-winning Tuesday (reviewed on this site).
Read more of Steve's reviews.
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