Chester's Way

by Henkes, Kevin. (Scholastic, 1988 ISBN 0688076076. Hardcover. Paperback. Library Binding.) Picture Book. 32 pages. Grades K+.
This book was reviewed by Carol Otis Hurst in Teaching K-8 Magazine.


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Chester is a creature of habit. He always does things in very precise ways and he likes his routine and so does his best friend Wilson. Wilson, Chester's best friend, is exactly like Chester. They enjoy the companionship and their shared preferences. Then Lilly moves into the neighborhood. Lilly frightens and appalls the very conventional duo with her exuberance, her outlandish disguises and loud proclamations. They avoid her and reject her offers of friendship. Then, when Chester and Wilson are being harassed by some older children, Lilly comes to their rescue and they first tentatively and then wholeheartedly accept her friendship. Lilly opens up many avenues of adventure for Chester and Wilson and they find, to their amazement, that the three have much in common. All is going swimmingly until Victor prances into the neighborhood and there the author leaves us.

Henkes' loving look at conventional, fearful Chester and non-conforming Lilly gives the reader a gentle way to examine his or her own comforts and challenges. Chester and Wilson's reaction to Lilly at first is one that most readers have felt for newcomers and everyone is relieved when Lilly breaks through the barriers. Although his characters are mice, they are very obviously ourselves in fur and whiskers.


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