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.