Friday, July 16, 2010

West Coast Trip: The Wheedle on the Needle

I first read this story when my grandparents brought it back from Seattle (one of my favourite places!) for my brother and I when we were kids. I had forgotten all about it until we visited Washington state in June and my husband came across it in a bookstore.

The Wheedle on the Needle (Sasquatch Books, November 2009) is written by Stephen Cosgrove and illustrated by Robin James. This colourfully illustrated book tells the story of Wheedle, a furry, orange, nature-loving creature whose peace is disturbed when explorers discover his Puget Sound home, building what is known today as Seattle. Wheedle attempts to discourage the intruders, and their happy, yet annoying, whistling sounds, until finally he puts together a plan. He collects a big bag full of clouds and heads to the top of the Space Needle. He surrounds the needle top with the clouds making Seattle a permanent place of rain, much to the city dwellers' chagrin. In the end, though, Wheedle and the Seattleites are able to happily reach a compromise, the Seattleites making Wheedle a cozy pair of soundproof earmuffs and Wheedle agreeing to stop putting rain clouds in the sky (although after a recent visit I wonder if he did, in fact, keep his part of the agreement!). To this day we can see Wheedle's red nose happily blinking away atop the Needle.

The Wheedle on the Needle is a really good example for teaching young readers about co-operation and the importance of living peacefully. And Wheedle makes a great souvenir if you're ever in the Seattle area. I love traveling and picking up a great children's book as a memento of our trip.

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