If you haven’t read Paul Fleischman’s Weslandia, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (Candlewick Press, $6.99), I can tell you that this book is like no book you’ve read before. It’s a picture book, but is definitely not for the pre-school crowd. It’s more appropriate for 7-9 year olds, which makes it difficult to place in the bookstore! Wesley is not like other kids. Even his parents acknowledge that, “He sticks out”. He doesn’t want to do what all the other kids do, something the adults around him just don’t understand. So Wesley does the only logical thing he can think of: he starts his own civilization. All civilizations need one thing. Yep, you guessed it, a staple food crop. Wesley’s crop grows and grows, until eventually he’s able to move in to his own garden. Wesley’s garden yields not just food, but enough raw materials to make clothing, hats, and shelter. Wesley’s garden habitat attracts the other kids in the neighborhood and his civilization starts to thrive, blossom, and even expand. Kids interested in nature, community, and innovation will love this unique book.

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