I really like wordless (or almost-wordless) picture books in general, and this story of a cat with “a silly name that belies his predatory nature” (in the words of Sarah Harrison Smith, writing in the New York Times) is a whole lot of fun. Mr. Wuffles, the title character, isn’t interested in any of the toys his people buy him: on the first page of the book, we see him disdainfully stalking away from a new goldfish-on-a-string toy, the pricetag still on. In fact, Mr. Wuffles ignores a whole bunch of toys with the price tags still on them: mouse toys and feather toys and a ball with a jingle bell inside, a shuttlecock, a ball of rubber bands. One toy, sans price tag, catches his eye, except it’s not a toy at all: it’s a spacecraft, with five very small aliens inside. The aliens are thrilled to have made a safe landing and are about to leave their ship for a photo opportunity, tiny flag in hand, when Mr. Wuffles gets his claws on their ship. Mr. Wuffles is delighted. The aliens, not so much: after being batted around, they all look a bit queasy, and, worse, their ship has been damaged. More worried than triumphant (though still with their flag in hand), they leave the ship, and are nearly squashed by Mr. Wuffles, who gets distracted by a ladybug at just the right moment. The aliens make a run for it, and find a safe spot under the radiator, which is also, it turns out, where the ants and ladybugs of the house hide from Mr. Wuffles. With the help of art (cave-painting-style hunt scenes the insects have created on the walls, and a similar scene the aliens create), the aliens and insects bond over their shared status as prey on the run from a creature many times their size. After a group photo and a shared meal, the aliens show the insects their broken spaceship parts; the insects give them material from which to make replacements (think of all the stuff that gets lost under the radiator!), and then they all craft a plan to get the aliens safely back to their spaceship. Mr. Wuffles is not so delighted anymore.

This book is lots of fun, with lots of great little details, and it’s clear that Wiesner is a cat person: he does a great job of capturing a cat’s movements and moods. (Per this video, he rigged up a camera on a stick and followed his own cat around the house while he was working on this book. Totally great.)

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