Wesley is an outsider, ‘alone in his town‘, alarming his parents ‘and the school nurse.’ He has no friends but ‘plenty of tormentors.’ When Wesley latches onto a throwaway comment from his father about using his knowledge in a summer project, ‘Weslandia‘ is the result.

Wesley invites the random seeds flung by the wind to grow in his garden furrows. What grows is not ‘tomatoes, beans or Brussels sprouts‘ selection of Wesley’s fellow gardeners. Wesley encourages his unknown crop, tending it until he’s able to experiment with what it may offer him. Fruit, juice, tubers, fronds to weave… Wesley builds a whole new industry and civilisation from his crop.

‘Weslandia‘ is proud, individual, emotive and inspiring. It’s the story of the victim who rises and triumphs, yet there is more.There are considerations about opening your mind and heart to possibilities, thinking widely, being curious, and appreciating individuality.

Paul Fleischman’s mature vocabulary and themes presented within Kevin Hawkes’ rich, elongated pictures suggest ‘Weslandia‘ is a picture book ideal for readers of all ages.



Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes


Weslandia‘ stands the test of time. It was one of the first picture books I used in my teaching career.
Wesley is different. He stands out. His hair is not the same as the other children, nor does he like the same foods or enjoy football. He is ‘an outcast from the civilisation around him‘. Routine questioning elicits an escape, when Wesley realises ‘he can use his knowledge for a good summer project.‘ What is the summer project?
Wesley is electrified by learning the distance that seeds might be carried so that every civilisation has ‘its own staple food crop‘. Wesley listens to the wind at night blowing seeds into the furrows he has dug. What might appear? Could it be possible that Wesley could create ‘Weslandia‘? Wesley is excited to open his land to the ‘new and unknown’….
‘Weslandia‘ is a rich with the symbolism of community, individuality, free expression, open-mindedness and wonder. Paul Fleischman employs complex vocabulary in archaic font, while Kevin Hawkes of There’s a Dinosaur on the 13th Floor has created richly toned pictures. There’s a comic book, ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’ look to his illustrations, emphasised by the variety of perspectives offered.




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