Welcome to another edition of
Usually, Weekly Readings is when your lit. rat reviews a mix of picture books, and just recently we’ve extended into early readers, middle grade (and some YA) novels.
This week, I’m focusing on one book close to your lit. rat’s heart that’s celebrating a very special event-
The Wainscott Weasel
by Tor Seidler
Illustrated by Fred Marcelino
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
(Imprint of Simon & Schuster
[@SimonKIDS] | [@simonschuster] )
Pub. Date: September 1st, 2014
Those who know your lit. rat well knows that one of my favorite authors is Tor Seidler, and a bit after reading
“A Rat’s Tale” (the book that inspired me to write GABRIEL) and its companion follow-up “The Revenge of Randal Reese-Rat” (Illustrated by Brett Helquist) first hooked me into the idea that books could entertain, not just inform.
Often heralded as the “Modern E.B. White” Tor Seidler is one of several authors whom I feel set the gold standard of animal fantasy today that doesn’t follow the clan-based warfare tradition set by the late Brian Jacques’ “Redwall” or the multi-faceted/multi-series feral cat clan epic “Warriors” franchise by Erin Hunter.
As much as I love picture books, one of my missions on T.A.A. is to remind people that our love on fantastical fauna tales don’t have to die just because we leave preschool behind, in fact, they should expanded on and re-imagined, and “The Wainscott Weasel” is another jewel in this author’s proverbial crown of literary achievements.
I’m a stickler for stories about offbeat loners and outcasts, so I fell in love with Bagley right away. I was never in love with a fish, mind you, but I had my own “Tragic First Love” story moment that I’m only just starting to make peace with now, but that’s another story I might tell another time…
But like Bagley, I often kept to myself, not always because I wanted to, but because I was painfully shy and awkward with people face-to-face, or to be more positive, in-person socialization skills were/are a work in progress for me.
Also like Bagley, I have a relative who (while I’m not named after) who I struggled to live up to the model she gave me but could not. But again, that’s a whole other story to be told another time…
The late and great Fred Marcelino graced us with some of his BEST work in his short-lived career.
Those who belittle or make light of the skill it takes to create children’s books in particular are simply blind to books such as this one.
The illustrations in “The Wainscott Weasel” are nothing short fine art. But fine art that’s open to anyone, wherever you live, at any time you wish, and thanks to this reissue, affordable to nearly anyone, and if you’re short on finances, that’s what our libraries are for.
I’d love this book on the merit of the prose and story alone, but Fred’s illustrations brought the Wainscott Woods, and it’s residents to life in visual form, and trust me when I say the gorgeous cover is only the beginning of the art exhibition side by side with literature.
There’s never been a better time to be a Tor Seidler fan, and especially “The Wainscott Weasel” as it’s reissue is just in time to celebrate the 20th Anniversary
“The Wainscott Weasel” was originally published in 1994 by an imprint of HarperCollins, and went out of print in 2007, which was around the time my love of books started to grow in earnest, when I first discovered it in .
I most likely purchased one of the last print run of paperbacks, it was so freshly printed, there was a mark of ink that hadn’t dried when it arrived at my doorstep.
I’ve long wanted to recommend this book, but because it was out of print, it was hard to find, and would go for tons of money on eBay, it would be out of reach of many people, unless their library had a copy of the previous printing from its original publisher.
So, I’m so grateful that Kate Wilson (one of my writer friends) led me to an article where I learned that this wonderful book was being reprinted (also available in ebook form for the first time!), and not only that, but author Tor Seidler was releasing his next novel, “Firstborn” (illustrated by Chris Sheban) coming out in early 2015, and you can bet your lit. rat will be reviewing that in good time!
His most recent novel was
(illustrated by Brock Cole) released September 1st, 2008.
His book “Mean Margret” (Illustrated by Jon Agee) was a National Book Award Finalist back in 1997 and, also was recently re-issued by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Check out our fan book trailer for
“The Wainscott Weasel”
If you’ve read “The Wainscott Weasel” in it’s previous lifetime, please share your favorite characters, memories, and scenes in the comments below, but PLEASE be spoiler-free to respect the newcomers to this book. The Literary Rat thanks you in advance.
You can also share your thoughts to our active Twitter community using the hashtag- #BackToWainscott
(@TAA_Editor is our Twitter Handle)
That’s it for Weekly Readings. See you next time!
NOTE FROM THE LITERARY RAT: If my ramblings convinced you to buy (or pre-order) one or more of the books mentioned above, please support T.A.A. by clicking on the affiliate cover images above or links within the review(s).