Monsters, a maze and a mystery make this another magical adventure in the magnificent Winnie and Wilbur series.
Winnie the Witch and her black cat, Wilbur, live in a big black house in the middle of a very big forest. There are lots of birds and animals living the forest – so many that Winnie and Wilbur have never met them all. When Winnie notices some very big footprints in the garden, she decides they should go into the forest and find out who the footprints belong to. Wilbur is less keen. He’s worried there might be big hairy monsters in the forest. He’s right. There are big green hairy monsters but, luckily, they are very friendly monsters. Monsters who have very small feet so Winnie and Wilbur are no closer to finding out who the footprints belong to. Soon, however, they have bigger things to worry about. They need to find each other and find their way out of the forest. When they get home, Winnie accepts they may never solve the mystery of the usual footprints but Wilbur quickly works out who the footprints belong to.
There are a lot of books in the ‘Winnie and Wilbur’ series and this is one of the best. Indeed, it’s almost as good as the very first in the series. It’s lovely to finally have a chance to explore the forest that surrounds Winnie’s home and I simply adored the idea of big hairy green monsters – especially friendly ones! And the fact that they have tiny feet really made me laugh. Added to that there’s an unexpected and amusing twist at the end when Wilbur finally solves the mystery.
There are a lot more words than most modern picture books but this is in keeping with this longstanding and hugely successful series and it really doesn’t matter as the story is fast moving with a real ‘turn the page’ factor. It does, however, mean the book is most suitable for children at the older end of the picture book market.
The pictures are as magical as always. Korky Paul’s distinctive, cartoon style illustrations are full of intricate detail that will keep children engaged even after numerous readings. The inclusion of a double page puzzle in the form of the maze that Winnie needs to navigate to find Wilbur is also an interesting and unusual touch that readers will have fun trying to solve.
If you enjoyed this, why not try one of the many other books in the Winnie and Wilbur series. I’m a big fan of the original story – Winnie the Witch by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul but I also enjoyed Winne’s Haunted House and the bumper collection of three stories in one in Winnie and Wilbur: Spectacular Spells.
Date: March 2019
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Website: Winnie and Wilbur