Guest Post - Wodney Wat

Hello.  My name is Tammy.  I live at a little place called Forever in First. I'm completely humbled and honored that Barbara asked me to hang out with you all for awhile.  

Considering I'm on summer break, I wasn't sure I had anything at my fingertips worthy of sharing.  Then I remembered something that eventually turned into this post.  Even though I've never met Barbara, I can't think of her without thinking of picture books and the power they have to change the hearts of readers, both young and old alike.  You see, I don't have a character education curriculum in my room, but I do have some special picture books.  In my opinion, put the right picture book into the hands of the right person, and the two of them can teach character better than a program ever could, so I'm going to share my absolute favorite book with you all and hopefully convince a few of you that you must have your very own copy. 

Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester

Meet Wodney.  Wodney Wat.  His real name is Rodney Rat, but you know how it is when you can't pronounce those silly r's.  Needless to say, Wodney's furry school companions give him quite a difficult time.  One wouldn't think poor Wodney in his shy state would ever amount to anything, but by the end of the story, he is obviously the hero of the whole tale.  Where there's a hero, there's also a villain.  That would be none other than Camilla Capybara who ends the story without a friend in the world.  I'd love to tell you more about the plot, but I'd hate to spoil all the fun.

A good picture book is like an onion.  It has several layers, and sometimes it takes several reads to get to the heart of the story.  This is one of those books that we read and reread numerous times.  With every read we peel back another layer and notice something new about the characters and ourselves.  One of my favorite discussions involves making character webs of both Wodney and Camilla.  The students suggest words that describe both characters.  When finished, this is what I write at the top of the chart...

Who do you want to be? 

It might look something like this.  (I apologize for not having a picture of the real version.  One lucky little first grader took it home as a souvenir at the end of the year.)  

"Who do you want to be?''  That question is worthy of staying on the wall until the very end of school.  The message and the characters, Wodney and Camilla, stay with us too.  Their names come up quite often.  "Ooh, that sounds like something Camilla Capybara would say."  That's sometimes all it takes, because who wants to be like Camilla Capybara?  Oh the power of a good picture book, right Barbara?

Right you are, Tammy. Thank you SO much for your thoughtful and insightful post. I am delighted that you stopped by the Corner today to share your wisdom and creativity with us!  

If you don't know Tammy's blog, do yourself a favor and hop on over to Forever in First. She's doing some wonderful work with her firsties and she's leaving Bucket-Filling footprints all over blogosphere with her kind comments and reflections.


  1. I'm intrigued! Hope I can find it at Barnes and Noble. Great post, Tammy. Thanks, Barbara, for asking Tammy to share with us!

  2. I wuv Wodey Wat! I use him to teach my kiddos about accepting differences. It is a good text to use to get into the mind of someone who is being picked on and teach empathy. Great guest post.

    Second Grade Math Maniac

  3. I have this book at school! The web you do is a great addition to the book. I love how you pose the question "Who do you want to be?". That makes a great teaching point!!
    Conversations in Literacy

  4. Thank you Vanessa, Casey, and Lori for your thoughtful comments. I'm glad that you found this helpful. Thanks Barbara for letting me join your blog today. It was a complete pleasure.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  5. Tammy, This is a great post. I love Wodney Wat. I am going to use your web idea next year. Thanks.
    Mrs. Goff's Pre-K Tales

  6. Thank you so much. I looked it up on amazon and got it for $4.00 including the shipping. I can't wait to read it to my classroom.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!