Chester's Way

Kevin Henkes, Author, Kevin Henkes, Illustrator
Kevin Henkes, Author, Kevin Henkes, Illustrator Greenwillow Books $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-688-07607-8
Reviewed on: 08/16/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
Chester's ways are fairly circumscribed: this young mouse has definite likes and dislikes, and there is no changing his mind. His friend Wilson is just like him; they're quite a pair. Then Lilly moves into the neighborhood. She speaks backwards (``YLLIL MA I''), travels only in disguise and carries a water pistol wherever she goes, ``just in case.'' She intimidates Chester and Wilson, until she terrorizes some bullies who are picking on the two friends. Suddenly, Lilly's ways don't look so bad, and the threesome becomes just as like-minded and inseparable as Chester and Wilson's former twosome. Henkes's vision of friendship captures the essence of the childlike; his mice live in a sunny, imaginative world mixed with secure routines and the safety of known factors. The story unwinds at a deliberate pace; every sentence is either downright funny or dense with playful, deadpan humor. The artist/author, as always, gently grants room for differences between people (the turnaround in A Weekend with Wendell , for example, and the reconciliation between Wedge and his stepfather in Two Under Par ). Behind each book is a wide-open heart, one readers can't help but respond to, that makes all of Henkes's booksand especially this oneof special value to children. Ages 4-up. (August)
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