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Willy The Wizard


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Willy the chimp is back!

About the Author

ANTHONY BROWNE is the acclaimed author and illustrator of such prize-winning bestsellers as GORILLA (winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Kurt Maschler Award), WILLY THE WIMP and ZOO (winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal). Anthony Browne's first picture book for Doubleday was published last year to great acclaim. VOICES IN THE PARK won the 1998 Kurt Maschler Award and was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Anthony was also the winner of the 2000 Hans Christan Andersen Award for Illustration.


Browne's (Willy the Wimp) fourth book featuring his ingenuous, remarkably human chimp mingles soccer and magic, two topics of indisputable appeal to kids. In wry, splendidly detailed pictures and a characteristically assured narrative, the author/artist relays the story of Willy's soccer breakthrough. Since he can't afford to buy soccer "boots," the chimp is ignored by the other players (shown here as gorillas). Then he encounters an ethereal yet curiously familiar figure dressed in old-fashioned soccer clothes, ``like the clothes Willy remembered his dad wearing.'' The two kick around a soccer ball, and the stranger unlaces his cleats and passes them to Willy. At the next practice, the shoes transform Willy into a star. But when Willy forgets to bring his special shoes to the big game and has to wear another pair, he nevertheless plays like a "wizard," stunning the opposition and scoring the winning goal. With admirable subtlety, Browne delivers a beneficial message to all youngsters-soccer-playing or not. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)

PreS-Gr 3-This "field of dreams" for the juvenile soccer set features a smaller-than-average chimp who, lacking cleats, is never picked for the team. An encounter with a stranger, another chimp dressed in old-fashioned gear that Willy's father might have worn and surrounded by an aura of white, yields the longed-for shoes. Willy dazzles the players, makes the team, and maintains a rigid and hilarious bedtime and waking regimen in an attempt to preserve the magic. On the day of the big match, he sleeps in, foregoes the rituals, and forgets the lucky shoes. Readers will not be disappointed in the pint-sized hero. Browne uses textures, scale, and page design to great effect as he contrasts the team's hairy hulks with his downy pipsqueak and alternates multiple frames with single views to hasten the action or build suspense. Willy is a winner with surefire appeal for anyone who wonders if attaining a goal is possible.æWendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA

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