Just in time for the school season, Kevin Henkes introduces a sweet mouse-child about to face the first grade in Wemberly Worried. The master of memorable mice characters, Henkes also gave us the much-loved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, a children's classic that won an ABBY Award.

The opposite of the energetic, outgoing Lilly, Wemberly is Henkes's creation of a delicate and sensitive young mouse who worries about everything. Nothing is too big or too small to escape Wemberly's worry. Day and night she worries. In bed, on the playground, or in the car, Wemberly worries. But by far her biggest worry is starting school. With the momentous first day looming, a multitude of new worries fills Wemberly. And this time the list of "what if's" is a mile long.

Broaching a serious topic, Henkes explains Wemberly's fears in a way children can relate to; he finds the sensitive spots that traumatize most children and deftly relates them with a touch of humor in his text and illustrations. And it's his humor and eye for detail that make this serious story fun, including a rollerblading Grandma who espouses, "Worry, worry, worry. Too much worry." Finally, the big day arrives. A caring teacher introduces Wemberly to another young mouse, who also happens to be wearing stripes and holding a doll. Wemberly's worries aren't cured instantly, but she and her new friend can't wait for the second day of school.

With his colorful illustrations, Henkes creates a sweet, fragile little girl in Wemberly. His artwork isn't just pleasing to look at, it conveys just as much as the text. Henkes communicates a wealth of emotion with facial expressions in the sharp drawings. You can see the hesitation in Wemberly's eyes and the distress in her tiny frame.

Until they create a first grader's version of How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, stick with Wemberly to help your youngsters address their fears about starting school.

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