Mr Wuffles by David Wiesner
I love Mr Wuffles. Apart from his white paws and throat he is very similar to my own cat, Gizmo. Both Gizmo and Mr Wuffles are “the epitome of indifference” as said by Amy Farrah Fowler of the wonderful Big Bang Theory. However he is far from indifferent when it comes to little green men and their spaceships!
In this wonderful, almost wordless book, Mr Wuffles comes up against aliens and a band of insects. As usual for this site, I won’t give away the ending, but I can at least confirm that it is a happy one.
5 Reasons to Read
1 A picture is worth a thousand words
Wordless picture books are fantastic because they encourage children to tell the story using their own words. Young children need a lot of practice to become fluent speakers and so wordless picture books are great tools to help them along the way.
If your child is not yet speaking using grammatically correct sentences you can help them. Always allow them to speak and try to avoid butting in (counting to 5 is a good rule of thumb). Once they have said their bit, repeat it back to them but using the correct language. They don’t need to repeat it, but over time, they will start to use an increasing amount of correct language.
2 There’s a lot to think about
Mr Wuffles uses a comic strip format to tell the story. A lot happens in these pictures and the children that I have shared this book with have all enjoyed scrutinising the pictures to understand the story. This is helping your child develop analytical skills that are needed to understand complex texts.
3 Have a go at translating
The aliens and ants have their own language. Have some fun with this and see if you and your child can translate the symbols. Once you’ve chosen the words, choose some good voices to use. What voice might you use for the aliens? The more fun and interactive you make storytime, the more pleasure your child will get from the experience. And the more pleasure your child gets the more likely they will make reading an integral part of their lives.
4 Explore the cave paintings
Cave paintings may well have been used to tell stories 40,000 years ago. I like the use of them here, telling us, and the aliens, the ants’ stories. You could talk about them with your child, both in terms of this story and the history of ancient stories drawn on caves thousands of years ago.
5 Think about where the aliens will go next
Stories give children the opportunities not only to enjoy the story per se, but also to think of what may happen next. So, where will the alien ship fly to as it leaves Mr Wuffles’ home? Will it return to the alien’s planet, will it go to another location and battle against another predator on Earth, or somewhere else? Let your child’s imagination fly.
Wordless picture books really are marvellous in helping your child develop their imagination and language. Mr Wuffles is a great story and one to be enjoyed, not just with younger children. Please let us know if you enjoyed it.
Additional Learning Opportunities
- Can your child name the shapes from the alien’s language?
- Introduce your child to the planets of the solar system. Can they learn the names of the planets? Maybe your child would be inerested in learning about star constellations or distant galaxies.
- Could your child come up with another story about Mr Wuffles and draw a comic strip version on this story?
- If you have an older child, they might like to write the text for the story.