Be Different!

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Last updated 4 years ago

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Be Different!

Kevin Hawkes successfully uses his illustrations to support the written text and develop the theme of accepting your individuality and being yourself.

Be different!

Reviewed by Natasha Lambert

I recommend this book to any child or teenager not wanting to conform to everyone around you. This book will show you that it is great to be different! And once you accept yourself, soon everyone else will too. It’s an original, exciting book that will make you want to create a land of your own!

Fleischman and Hawkes work together fantastically to show how secluded Wesley is. Hawkes placed Wesley’s parents in a bright light, but they are wearing dull colours and are framed by darkness. The dull tones of the picture represent their conformity and show the reader the clear difference between them and Wesley (placed in a very bright, colourful room). The focal point on the left side of the page is clearly the parents, with a very strong frame, but in Wesley’s room your eyes bounce around everywhere. This is the first page and we can already see a strong distinction between Wesley and others, supporting the written text.

‘Weslandia’ is intended for children who may feel a little different from every one else. But that’s okay because everyone is different and Weslandia teaches us to accept it and have fun with it! The vocabulary choices indicate that it may be best for upper primary students.

The dialogue on this start page, and this end page also shows the change in dynamics after Wesley made Weslandia. At the beginning the parents were full of mean statements but by the end, his father was actually asking questions!

This text is about a boy named Wesley who gets teased at school because he is different from the people he knows and doesn’t the like the same things they do. He doesn’t let it bother him though as he decides to embrace his individuality and create a wonderful civilisation of his own called ‘Weslandia’. The amazing results intrigue everyone, including those who made fun of him!

The author of Weslandia is Paul Fleischman, an author who loves to write books with a relatable theme that will teach the reader something useful. He paired well with Kevin Hawkes (illustrator), whose quirky, vibrant style matches the quirky, bright character Paul Fleischman created.

This particular illustration uses colour again to give more meaning to the written text and the theme. Wesley is fully coloured yellow, symbolising happiness, and the red flowers surrounding him (and pointing the reader in his direction) can symbolise his passion and love for Weslandia. The focal point of the illustration is Weslandia, then the rows of houses act as vector lines, allowing the reader’s eyes to see just how dull the rest of the neighbour hood looks compared to Wesley’s amazing place. This symbolisation relates to theme, showing the reader just how great it can be to be you!

This text is wonderful for older students struggling with their individuality, as it shows just how great things can get when you accept who you are. However, I do believe the book focuses a bit too much on Wesley’s imaginary land, and very little on Wesley’s situation and feelings (only 4 pages out of 40!). It is a thought-provoking and engaging text though, as it allows readers to think about their own imaginary land and also has stimulating language (Words such as: bedlam, innovation, myriad and morale). Additionally, it introduces many new concepts to students such as the sundial he uses to tell time and the constellations he renames.



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