PPBF: Hooway for Wodney Wat…Believe in Yourself!

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children.

Can you stand some really good news?  Actually, two good newses…is that a real word?

GOOD NEWS NUMBER ONE: Julie Hedlund, founder of 12×12 in 2012, put together a cornucopia of amazing prizes to reward the people who are participating in her picture book writing challenge.

The prizes ranged from manuscripts critiques to autographed picture books to query critiques to helpful books on creative writing to…Emma Walton Hamilton’s 8-week online picture book writing course.  This last is something I have been wishing I could take…tongue hanging out as I visited the “Just Write For Kids” website and scrolled down the awesome list of lessons. 

Can you imagine how thrilled I was when I saw my name as winner of the gift certificate (provided by the generous Emma Walton Hamilton) that entitles me to take the course FOR FREE?  I don’t think you can…my husband came running downstairs, sure that some terrible catastrophe had befallen me, as all he heard was me yelling at the top of my lungs (and I have a pretty healthy set there), “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!!!!!

I’ve already connected with Emma and have downloaded the first week’s lesson…Hooray!!!!

GOOD NEWS NUMBER TWO: Kathy Ellen Davis is having an October challenge…31 in 31 .  She is encouraging everyone to read 31 picture books during the 31 days of October.  Needless to say, Kathy had me from ‘read picture books every day’.  If you are interested, you can click on her link or on her cute ’31 in 31’ button on my sidebar…I know she would be thrilled to have more people participating.

 To date, I’ve read “Neville” by Norton Juster, “Cloudette” by Tom Lichtenheld, “The Jellybeans and the Big Camp Kickoff” by Laura Numeroff and “Knuffle Bunny Too” by Mo Willems.  It’s been a lot of fun reading the newer books…and I just put two dozen more on hold at the library…all published in 2012!  I do have to say that there is a BIG difference between the classics of years ago and the new generation of picture books.   I notice that many of the newer books have humor that probably goes over the head of the young child…I guess parents are really having a great time while they read these stories to their kids…and that’s a good thing!

Since October is National Bully Prevention Month, I want to continue to highlight some amazing books and other resources that address this important issue.

If you stopped by last Friday, you might have seen my spotlight on a new anti-bullying app: AWESOME UPSTANDER.  Here’s the link: http://www.awesomeupstander.com for those of you who might have missed it.

I encourage anyone who is involved with kids to visit the website at http://www.awesomeupstander.com.  There are free downloadable info sheets for parents and teachers that address positive action plans for kids and adults.  You can follow Awesome Upstander on Twitter or on Facebook.

The game identifies the participants to a bullying problem…the bully, the target and the bystanders.  The key to the game (and perhaps an important key to putting an end to bullying in real life) is to turn the bystanders into ‘Awesome Upstanders”…people who get actively involved to help the target or victim and stop the bullying.

And, as with my Perfect Picture Book Friday pick last week, the concept of group dynamics brings me to today’s choice.

Hooway For Wodney Wat

Written by Helen Lester

Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Ages: 4 and up


Bullying, teasing, self-esteem, creative thinking, cooperation, group dynamics, being comfortable with who you are


From Amazon: “Poor Rodney Rat can’t pronounce his R’s and the other rodents tease him mercilessly. But when Camilla Capybara joins Rodney’s class and announces that she is bigger, meaner, and smarter than any of the other rodents, everyone is afraid. It seems she really is bigger, meaner, and smarter than all of the rest of them. Until our unwitting hero, Wodney Wat, catches Camilla out in a game of Simon Says. Read along with Wodney as he surprises himself and his classmates by single-handedly saving the whole class from the big bad bully.”

Why do I like this book

I love books that celebrate each individual’s uniqueness!  We each bring special gifts to the table of life…and Rodney Rat seems to embrace that concept.  Every child will understand how difficult it is to be different.  Rodney had a strong positive self-image and this helped him triumph over the bully.  The illustrations show us how each character is feeling…even I wouldn’t want to cross paths with Camilla Capybara!  What a wonderful story to read to a class during National Bully Prevention Month…or to a child who is having a hard time feeling good about himself.

Related Activities:


Photo from www.EnchantedLearning.com

Role playing with puppets is a fantastic way to help kids express their feelings.

Here’s an easy paper bag hand puppet that even the youngest child can make!

You will need: 1 brown lunch-size paper bag, 1 brown oval piece of construction paper, 1 smaller pink oval, 2 small white circles, 2 smaller black circles, 1 small red circle, 1 black rectangle, scissors, glue and a marker.

1.      Cut the brown oval in two pieces and paste each at the top of the paper bag for the ears.

2.      Cut the pink oval in two pieces and paste each on top of the brown ears.

3.      Paste the white circles for eyes…then paste the smaller black circles on top for the pupils.

4.      Paste the red circle for the nose.

5.      Cut the black rectangle into six strips and paste on for whiskers.

6.      Draw in the mouth.

7.      Now read the story again and let your child use the puppet to speak Rodney’s words.

Play ‘Simon Says’…this is a wonderful game to help a young child learn to listen carefully and follow directions!

Lovely lesson plan from Scholastic: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/hooway-wodney-wat-lesson-plan

A lesson plan for second and third graders: http://www.drforgan.com/Adobe%20files/Hooway_For_Wodney_Wat_sample.pdf


This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.   This is an unbelievable resource for any parent, teacher or children’s librarian.

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever - Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (PomegranateKids, March 15, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, Feb 13, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, May 1, 2019); MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020) picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my young grandson.

Posted on October 5, 2012, in 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge, 31 in 31 Picture Book Reading Challenge, Bullying, Perfect Picture Book Friday and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.




  2. lol….. I can just imagine your husband running downstairs as you screamed your delight, congratulations Vivian. As one of the earliest ones to take Emmas course I know you will enjoy, and get a lot out of it.’ Emma is a great teacher and readily available to answer any questions you may have. Enjoy!
    Your PB choice is very apt for this month, and I also loved your words…. “We each bring special gifts to the table of life…” Loved your review and as always your inspiring activities. Thankyou, I enjoyed your post.


    • I feel very fortunate, Diane!  I’m looking forward to reading the materials in each lesson and focusing my energy on learning all that I can…I know that Emma will provide great feedback…everyone has spoken so highly of her. 🙂 Glad you liked my PPBF choice and activities…I love our PPBF group…what an amazing resource for any parent, teacher or librarian!     


  3. Good pick! I like the bag puppet activity!


  4. Congratulations, Vivian…enjoy your class! How fun!


  5. You will love JWFK!

    I want to see the illustrations as I love capybaras – even bullies!


  6. What a cute craft, Vivian. You always find the best activities. I haven’t read Wodney Wat yet, but it sounds adorable. Did you like Cloudette? I liked that one a lot, and Neville, too. I will check out Kathy’s challenge — especially since it is highly likely I’ll read far more than 31 picture books this month!


    • That’s exactly what I said to Kathy Ellen…what a joy it is to be reading picture books every morning before I go to work! I liked ‘Cloudette’ very much…great message of the little cloud finding important and meaningful ways to be ‘useful and of value’.  And Neville had that great ‘surprise’ ending…although I’m sure most adults and many children would have guessed that the mc was Neville. 🙂  My husband was disturbed, however, because he felt that these days, no mother would tell her young child to go for a walk and be home before dark…especially in a neighborhood that was unfamiliar and they didn’t know any of the neighbors yet…and I kind of had to agree with him. 🙂  Hope you join in…I’m sure Kathy Ellen would love it!  


  7. I am so excited for you that you’re able to take Emma’s class! The little kid within me is dancing a happy dance (the slightly arthritic middle-aged woman on the outside of me would be dancing if she wouldn’t likely do herself an injury in the process!)

    I think I would wuv Wodney Wodent! I must see if he is in our library. I can read him for one of my 31 in 31! I’m loving Kathy Ellen’s challenge.

    Great activities — I especially love the hand puppet.


    • Oh my, Beth…that is so funny…you and me both. 🙂   We will rock out in spirit…and dance a little more conservatively in actuality. 🙂  It’s an amazing opportunity for me and I am very grateful to Julie and to Emma! Glad you liked the craft…simple is best, I think…what a lot of fun parents can have with their kids…and all they need is a paper bag and some imagination…that’s why I wrote Show Me How!  


  8. Congratulations on your free course! I hope your husband recovered from your excitement. I get to read 4 to 5 children’s books every day, so I can’t complain. I really enjoyed the story of Cloudette and how you can always find what you’re good at if you keep looking. And you can’t read Knufflebunny Too without read the first and last one (which made me cry…).


  9. Wow, congratulations on winning a free course.
    Happy Thanksgiving


  10. You had me at capybara! I love those giant rodents. I wrote an article about them once, and find them fascinating. Love this recommendation. And I’m so excited you get to take a class with Emma Walton Hamilton!


    • I’m having a lot of fun, reading these newer books (although Hooway for Wodney Wat isn’t THAT new).  Isn’t funny that most people would run from any rodent they saw in person…but we love to read and write picture books about them. 🙂  And I am totally over the moon excited about Emma’s course…how fortunate I am!!!   


  11. WOW!
    Congrats on winning the class!
    And thank you so much for the kind words about the challenge…I’m having a lot of fun, meeting a lot of awesome people 😉 and hearing about SO MANY more books than I would have otherwise.
    You’ll have to let us know how the class goes!



  12. I was so happy when I saw your name next to Emma’s class! Congratulations!!! I hope you’ll share your experiences here when you’re done 🙂

    Lynn Munsinger is a favorite illustrator around here, we just love her art.


  13. Love all the good news! So happy for you that you won Emma’s course – just awesome 🙂 I can’t believe I haven’t read Wodney yet! I’m a big Helen Lester fan – we love Tacky at our house 🙂 I will have to rectify this oversight! Thanks for adding this too our list!


    • I’m glad I added it also! I’m loving Kathy Ellen’s 31 in 31 Challenge to read picture books every day in October because it is ‘forcing’ me to read a picture book every morning and I’ve decided to read the newer books as opposed to the older classics I usually review for PPBF.
      Thank you for the good wishes re Emma’s class…I am thrilled about it…and can’t wait to start. Well, I guess I have started…I downloaded and printed out all of the lesson one materials…and got all of the required picture books from the library. 🙂


  14. Excellent work Vivian ,Thanks for posting 🙂


  15. Oh my goodness! I have got to read this book. My niece told me about it last year and I had forgotten to add it to my library list…now it’s on there.

    And…congratulations on winning! The class should be awesome!


    • Thank you, Penny…it is a really funny book and one that will help many kids…on both sides of the teasing/bullying fence. 🙂
      I’m grateful to Julie for hosting the prize extravaganza…and to Emma for donating such a spectacular offering…I was really lucky to have won it. 🙂


  16. What a unique bullying story — love it that even though Wodney has trouble saying “r”, he has his own strengths and stands up to the bully. Love your choice.

    Congratulations on winning the JWFK course with Emma! I took the course over two years ago. She is an excellent teacher and you will learn so much. Keep us posted. I learned so much from the course and go back to it again and again.


  17. Enjoy the course! That’s exciting, Vivian . . . much better than the alternative scenario your husband was imagining as he raced down the stairs to rescue you!


  18. Stacy S. Jensen

    I love the crafts and book as always. Congrats on winning the course. Enjoy!


  19. Congrats on your win! Enjoy the course and spread the knowledge… I’m proud of your accomplishments. Even though I’ve been caught up in my offline demands, I still think of early day buddies like you… I might disappear for a minute but not forever… Take care!


    • Eliz…you were my first ‘blogging buddy’…and your blog is still one of my favorites!  You are a special lady…I totally understand how life tugs at your attention…it’s doing the same to mine. 🙂  I so appreciate you taking the time to visit and comment on so many of my blogs.   


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