We love books in our house. Jake makes us read up to 5 books at bedtime and prior to having children, I would read crime thriller after crime thriller (when I had the time!) And then, of course, I self-published my own book and still have children’s books I’d love to get published and other ideas in my head so when Sam from Owlet Press asked us to review a brand new children’s book I was very excited. Not only is he the founder of Owlet Press but he’s also the author of ‘What Wesley Wore’ which teaches children about the impact of bullying. I love discovering new stories and am always on the lookout for something new for Jake to enjoy and if it has a great message and talking point, then it’s a win-win.
What Wesley Wore
The story is based around a woodland of Weasels who do not believe in anybody being different. Wesley likes to wear clothes. He likes to wear outrageous clothes. He thinks he looks super cool and loves expressing himself but unfortunately the rest of Westburrow Wood don’t agree with it.
The other weasels decide that this wasn’t acceptable and that Wesley needs to be ‘normal’. So they take matters into their own hands and not in a pleasant way…
Poor Wesley is so upset and runs home to pack away all of his treasures. However, his supportive Dad can’t bear to see him like that and encourages him to be who he has to be. He dries Wesley’s tears and they unpack the clothing.
When Wesley goes back out into Westburrow Wood he walks proudly and tells the other weasels that they will not take his smile off his face again. Just at that moment, a caravan of trendy stoats pull up and are surprised to find a woodland full of naked weasels. They ask if anybody there is stylish like them and the weasels turn and look at Wesley.
Wesley can’t believe it when they ask him to go to the city with them and even though it is hard to leave his Dad, he decides that he needs to go off and find his place in the world.
Of course, after he has left, the weasels realise how mean they have been and what their actions have caused. When they receive a letter from Wesley telling them that he forgives them they go to Wesley’s Dad to make peace with him and he opens his home to them all. He then offers them the clothing that Wesley has left behind and asks them to step into somebody else’s shoes for once.
The weasels decide to give clothes a try and are surprised to find that they love them! Suddenly the wood became full of colour and happiness and each time Wesley came to visit his Dad grew prouder that everybody had learned to love what Wesley wore.
My Thoughts On What Wesley Wore
My word, I must admit that the first time I read this I actually got a little choked up. I found the part where Wesley was crying so sad but when he left, well, that almost made me well up. I haven’t ever read a children’s book like this, one where the message goes deeper than ‘oh, it’s ok though, nevermind’ etc. I mean, we are very used to nicey, nicey stories aren’t we? But perhaps those don’t always have a place? If Jake was being bullied, this book would be a great go-to because it covers that rawness that bullying can bring. Yes, it can be tough and yes you can try to blank them out but that may not be enough and perhaps moving on and finding your own place in the world is the better answer?
I think it covers so many factors in such a short story and it is just long enough for a child to take it all in and to feel those emotions too.
Talking To Jake About The Book
Jake didn’t immediately pick up on the message but as he is only 5 he hasn’t quite got the concept of bullying just yet (thank goodness). He understands that being mean isn’t nice but he is at the age of not getting why people are like this or why they would do horrible things. It wasn’t long ago that he was being ignored by a particular school friend and he came to me and said he wasn’t being ‘seen’. In other words, he was being ignored. Now, I knew what that meant but he didn’t and I am pretty sure there will be more to come as the school years pass. So, on the second read of What Wesley Wore, we discussed what was happening and why the weasels were mean.
I loved the fact that Jake couldn’t understand why they were mean and he thought Wesley looked cool but we went on to chat about how others may behave and how that can make someone feel. It was interesting to watch his mind work and to have this more grown-up conversation with him. I really felt as though he took it all on board and I know that if we come across any bullying in the future that I will now have a book to reach to in order to help.
And Jake being Jake, decided to take our conversation that bit further and thought it would be fun channel his inner Wesley!
God, I love this kid! I really do hope that his attitude continues throughout his life and that other children act exactly the same way because if the next generation are more accepting, we can look forward to a future without any bullying in it.
If you are looking for a story that will teach your children something, will give you something to discuss and is different from other children’s books, then ‘What Wesley Wore’ is the book for you. It is brand new and is currently available for pre-order at Waterstones for £7.99.
*we were sent this book in exchange for this review. All opinions remain honest and our own. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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