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~~Author, illustrator and publisher~~~~
Willy the Wimp is written and illustrated by written by Anthony Browne. For those of you who have not heard of Anthony Browne I shall give you a short synopsis of his literary career. Anthony Browne is a prolific author of children's fiction/picture books. He has been writing and illustrating children's books for many years, his first book was published in 1976 (Through the Magic Mirror) and since then he has written around 40 other notable children's picture books. Many of which have been nominated (and won) awards. In my opinion Anthony Browne is an outstanding author of children's books. His books have underlying meaning, always something relevant to children. His book Gorilla is about relationships with parents and this book is about bullying. Published by Walker Books in 2008, Willy the Wimp was also illustrated by Anthony Browne. Willy the Wimp contains many features which are thematic across many of his books; this is an important aspect of children's literature as it helps them to make links within books and also helps them to recognise authors and their styles of writing.
Willy the Wimp is a story which many children will relate to. Willy is a polite boy who wouldn't hurt a fly. He is so nice and so polite he apologises for things which aren't his fault, like when someone walks into him. Although he is nice and kind, Willy is a wimp. He is scared of his own shadow and was often picked on because of it.
One day Willy decided he had had enough and after seeing an advert for a book to help him be a 'wimp no more' he became determined to improve himself. The story depicts how Willy develops his physique through exercise and a healthy diet. These things alone do not give Willy his confidence; it is his determination to be better and less of a wimp that enables Willy to stand up to the bullies.
After a lot of work by Willy he is finally proud of himself and when Willy rescues Milly (his girlfriend??) from the suburban gorillas (a gang?) and is hailed a hero, the bullies run off and he is left with lipstick on his cheek. Willy has changed his appearance and he is not such a wimp now, but is he still the same Willy? I'll let you find out.
This is, along with Gorilla (also by Anthony Browne and also reviewed by me), one of my top ten favourite children's books. It has everything a children's book should have. It is humorous, repetitive, relevant, easy to read, moralistic and beautifully illustrated. I beg you to read this and his other wonderful books to your children and grandchildren, you will not regret it.
Available from Amazon new for around £10.99 and used from just £0.01
My oldest son is in year 2 at primary school and he is 6 years old he is learning to read and on a weekly basis the class goes to the library to choose a book each to read during the course of the week. The latest book that my son chose is Willy the Wimp by Anthony Browne, this is the second book in the Willy series that he has chosen so I was fairly aware of the style of the book.
Anthony Browne is a very well known children's author and illustrator, he is in fact the current Children's Laureate. My son is very impressed by the fact that Mr Browne has written and illustrated the book, as part of the getting to know about books and appreciating them the children are encouraged to find out some information about the author and illustrator of their books. Anthony Browne has a love of gorillas and enjoys writing about them and the hero of the Willy series is a gorilla, although with very human qualities and traits.
Willy the Wimp is about a gentle, well mannered young gorilla who is bullied by a gang. Fed up with the bullying Willy decides to do something about it, so the story follows his quest to stand up for himself and not be bullied anymore, Willy hates being called a wimp and works hard to get rid of the dreadful nickname. The story is very comical and Willy has some adventures along the way to defeating the bullies, ranging from doing aerobics to disco music to learning to box and weight lift. We see Willy grow in strength and physical stature but we also see the emotional and mental growth that he goes through in his quest. The ending of the story has a little twist, quite common with Browne and the whole story is told with gentle humour, but there is the message that bullying is wrong and this is a very good message for young children. The story shows not just the physical hurt from bullying but also the emotional and mental hurt. It is an excellent opportunity to talk about bullying with a young child.
My son really enjoyed the book and we have read it every night for a whole week. There is some gentle rhyming throughout the story, the story is not too heavy with text but there is a good spread of words and sentences. My son is starting to read independently and can read some of the sentences, the illustrations in the story are excellent and really enhance the reading experience. Having read a bit about Anthony Browne we have discovered that he once had a job illustrating biology text books and the attention to detail really comes out in the illustrations for the story. Willy is a gorilla and looks like a gorilla but you can also see him as a little boy.
My son really enjoyed the story and is keen to read more in the Willy series. It is a book that makes you laugh because it is funny and definitely appeals to little boys, but would appeal equally to girls. The book is published by Walker publishing and is available to buy, the cover price is £5.99, although we borrowed our copy from the school library.
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