Written and Illustrated by David Wiesner
In a near wordless masterpiece that could only have been devised by David Wiesner, a cat named Mr. Wuffles doesn’t care about toy mice or toy goldfish. He’s much more interested in playing with a little spaceship full of actual aliens—but the ship wasn’t designed for this kind of rough treatment. Between motion sickness and damaged equipment, the aliens are in deep trouble.
When the space visitors dodge the cat and take shelter behind the radiator to repair the damage, they make a host of insect friends. The result? A humorous exploration of cooperation between aliens and insects, and of the universal nature of communication involving symbols, “cave” paintings, and gestures of friendship.
Primary Source Pairing:
Another wordless picture book for the win! David Wiesner creates a whole new world, one where the close encounters with Mr. Wuffles, the cat, are documented by the survivors in the area behind the radiator. It is always fascinating to see the storyboard sketches of illustrators as they draft their story. For this primary source pairing, invite students to review an early sketch of the illustrations for this book. Compare and contrast with the pages in the published book. In addition to the image used above, there are many more documented on David Wiesner’s website.
Additionally, check out David Wiesner talking about the process for creating Mr. Wuffles in this YouTube video.
Questions for Discussion:
- What do you notice first?
- Describe what you see.
- Find something small but interesting.
- What do you notice that you didn’t expect?
- What do you notice that you can’t explain?
- How did the sketch change in the published book?
Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Mr. Wuffles Sketch: David Wiesner’s website
Resources on Wordless Picture Books:
Creative Writing Through Wordless Picture Books: ReadWriteThink.org
Jim Trelease: Wordless Picture Books: Pre-KPages.com
Sharing Wordless Picture Books: ReadingRockets.org
Why Wordless Picture Books Work: Scholastic.com