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WENDEL’S WORKSHOP by Chris Riddell


by Chris Riddell & illustrated by Chris Riddell

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-144930-7
Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Young Wendel is a mouse and an inventor. Like many an inventor before him, he creates a robotic creature to save him from cleaning up after himself. Wendel is an unintentionally thoughtless slob: a slob because he throws his failures on a metastasizing junk pile, thoughtless because one of those failures is a sweet, well-meaning if inept, lantern-jawed automaton—Clunk by name—that, rather alarmingly, is dumped in the rubbish chute. When Clunk’s replacement, Wendelbot, a blockheaded anal-retentive, runs predictably amok, giving Wendel a taste of the rubbish chute, it is Clunk and an appealingly ragtag gang of ready-mades fashioned from the scrapheap by Wendel that convince Wendelbot to self-destruct. Riddell nimbly plays on readers’ sympathies for emotionally vulnerable, snaggletooth robots, but that is about it as far as the story line goes, which fails to display any of the inventiveness Wendel would expect—no fun twist, nothing clever or resourceful built from scant means. The artwork, however, doesn’t disappoint, with its busy, sure-handed line and snappy coloring. A pretty face, undeniably, but void of hidden depths. (Picture book. 4-8)