Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Weslandia

Fleischman, Paul (Author)
Hawkes, Kevin (Illustrator)
Candlewick Press 2002. 40 pages
First published: 1999
ISBN: 9780763610524 (paperback)
9780763600068 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, characterization, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Bullied and picked on, Wesley makes his own civilization over the summer holiday. When strange seeds blow into his garden plot, the mysterious plant provides the basis for his new society.

The language tracks the development of Wesley’s world with an elegant logic. Readers will enjoy the theme of discovery and invention: “He dried half a rind to serve as a cup;” “wove himself a hat from strips of the plant’s woody bark;” “divided the day into eight segments—the number of petals on the plant’s flowers.”

This book provides an opportunity to make parallels between Wesley’s civilization and real cultures, past and present. The rewards of fearless originality are shown when former bullies seek to join Weslandia.

Illustrations are drenched in the rich colours of bright summer days. The mysterious plant’s crimson blooms tower on long, green stalks. Its products are depicted in fascinating detail. In one image, kids line up for Wesley’s mosquito repellent—the oil of the plant’s crushed seeds. In another, Wesley lies in a hammock of giant petals, under a starry evening sky.

This is a story of an idyllic summer, a fine introduction to ethnographic principles and a paean to the pioneer spirit.

  •  

    Discuss and define the concept of a civilization. Begin a list of its components. Refer to your list, comparing it to Weslandia as you read.

  •  

    Use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast Wesley with everyone else – his classmates, parents and neighbours. Based on this, what character traits would you use to describe Wesley?

  •  Work with a partner to retell the story from the point of view of another character. Notice how your opinion of Wesley changes as the plot evolves.
  •  Invent your own civilization. Give it a name. Include all the components you brainstormed earlier and read about in the book.
  •  

    Research a real civilization. Compare and contrast it with Weslandia. Comment on food, games, language and any other relevant aspects.

  •  

    Discuss and define the concept of a civilization. Begin a list of its components. Refer to your list, comparing it to Weslandia as the book is read.

  •  With a partner, create a character map for Wesley. Add information about other people’s perceptions of him.
  •  

    Compare and contrast the possibilities of Wesley’s swist plant to those of tomatoes, beans or Brussels sprouts. Research five other existing plants that offer a large spectrum of possibilities. Compare them to the swist plant.

  •  Invent your own civilization. Give it a name. Include all the components you brainstormed earlier and read about in the book. Make a media presentation about your new civilization. (IE)
  •  

    How are you different from others? Make a list of traits that make you unique. Compare your list to the description of Wesley.

  •  

    Discuss the title and story in small teams. What made Wesley different from other children? What did his parents think of him? Did he like school? Why or why not? Why did he have more friends at the end of the story?

  •  

    Wesley is now a young adult and is applying to a Biology program to become a botanist. As Wesley’s best friend, write him a recommendation letter describing his inventions. How can Wesley change the world?

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To solve problems
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Science and Technology