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Reviewed by Lois J Wickstrom for Readers' Favorite
Everyone has an inner weirdo. It’s fun to eat weird food and play weird games. It’s fun to have a weird picnic. It’s fun to be weird together. Weirdo and Willy by Marcy Pusey shows both the meanness of name-calling and the fun kids can have together once they get past this bad behavior. This book takes the stance that name-calling is just a misunderstanding. The mean kids call Willy by the name Weirdo. One day a mythical creature, whose real name is Weirdo, shows up. He and Willy have fun. They play and eat together. They eat some truly odd foods like chocolate-coated fishtails and caramel-dipped frog tongues. Then the other kids join them.
Name-calling is hurtful childish behavior. Every kid who has ever been called a name has wished for a cool friend like Weirdo. But, even Willy misunderstands Weirdo at first. He is afraid Weirdo will eat him. After Weirdo explains what he really eats, the two become best friends. This book is an opportunity for both the kids who do the name-calling and the kids who get called names to see that name-calling is really a cover for fear. Ferdinando C. Rihi’s art brings Weirdo to life. The picture of Willy cleaning his face in Weirdo’s armpit is completely silly. Marcy Pusey’s idea of a weirdo picnic with weirdo food brings the silliness to a charming conclusion. Recommended for classroom discussions and families where name-calling is a problem.