Wilf the Mighty Worrier: King of the Jungle

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Jul 2017

Member Reviews

The unique star of the Wilf the Mighty Worrier series by Georgia Pritchett is a sweet, endearing hero who will grab readers’ hearts and have them cheering until the very end.

Before I go on, let me clarify one thing: I did not make a typo in the title of this post. Wilf is, indeed, a Mighty WORRIER. He worries about many things. He even carries a leaflet around called “How To Stop Worrying,” which he consults throughout the book. He also keeps extra copies handy so that he can pass the leaflet out when he learns of others’ fears.

When presented with a challenge, Wilf will consult the leaflet. Then he often has a great big old worry, and then he has a great big old think, and then he thinks so hard that his brain feels dizzy—then he’ll get an idea! This habit gets him out of many scrapes!

Wilf the Mighty Worrier is King of the Jungle opens with Wilf making a list of thing that he is afraid of. This list includes: scarecrows, poodles, being eaten by animals, beetles, snakes, and crocodiles. One might imagine that he’s unlikely to run into many of the things on his list at home. But then his mom tells him that they are going on vacation to Africa!

To make matters worse, they are going on vacation with the next-door neighbors—Alan and Pam. Alan is full of evil plans to destroy the world, and the trip to Africa doesn’t slow him down at all.

Wilf finds himself in the middle of Alan’s plans for destruction, and has to save the world. He must also face many of his fears and keep his baby sister safe.

Wilf the Mighty Worrier is King of the Jungle is aimed at early readers, and features the occasional fart or poop joke to generate laughter. My youngest laughed out loud for a long time at the mention of Alan's great invention—the Premier Official Optimum Beast Understanding Machine, or “POOBUM.” Most of the book is accessible for young readers; however, it does have some invented words (like “exhaustipated”) that will be tough to figure out.

The illustrations in Wilf the Mighty Worrier is King of the Jungle bring additional humor to the book. There are pictures on nearly every page. In a few instances, they provide details not found in the printed story (such as the items on Wilf’s list of things that he is afraid of).

There are currently four books in the Wilf the Mighty Worrier series, with a fifth expected soon. Wilf has his own website: www.wilfthemightyworrier.com, where you can find “The Worrier Checklist: How to Stop Worrying.” The checklist is similar to the leaflet Wilf takes to Africa—some of the suggestions are the same. There is also a Wilf Quiz, an Extra Story, and many video clips.

Wilf the Mighty Worrier is King of the Jungle will be released tomorrow, July 11, 2017. I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

Have you read any great books lately?
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Oh Wilf! You had me up until chapter 3 entitled "Grown-ups are idiots". Where in the chapter proceeded to call Adults stupid and stating in bold letters "children know best". I understand that this is a work of fiction, but sadly I found it to be quite unpleasant to read aloud to my children, whom I am trying my best to teach at this impressionable age about respecting their elders. To quote the book "they are just a lumbering waste of space". It made me want to ask the author why they didn't find that to be a somewhat disturbing comment for a children's book. 
I get it, I was a child myself too and sometimes adults aren't good at listening and often can overlook the fact that children too are highly thinking and highly emotional beings just learning as they go along in life. Creatively I felt the writer could have somehow come up with a comedic way for chapter three to be hilariously correct. Instead, I just found it to be insulting and embarrassing to read to my children who enjoy novels about the jungle and exploration. 
Would I recommend this book? No.
Would I want this book for our home library? That's a hard NO.
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A Dahl/Snicket Vibe, But Funnier

I wasn't sure about this when I first started it. Wilf is a mighty worrier, about pretty much everything, and it felt like that was a premise that could get old fast. Wilf's best pal is a wood louse, which told me that extreme-quirky was going to be the order of the day. Wilf's voice was engagingly manic, but he seemed just clueless enough to become grating after a while. Well, excuuuuuse me for being so quick to judge. The book may have taken a few pages to settle down and to capture me, but after that it just got better and better and funnier and funnier.

We get that deadpan edgy serious/silly exaggeration that makes Dahl so fascinating. We get chatty narration and over-the-top humor-gloom in the Snicket style. But, the funniest bits are in the dialogue, the manic exaggerated action, and the dryly understated throwaway lines and observations. The result is a story that whipsaws between vaudeville silliness and tongue-in-cheek deadpan, sometimes in the same sentence. This all requires great craft and restraint, and tremendous control over pacing, or it just becomes a muddle, and our author always has everything under command. 

I can see why young readers enjoy these books. There is a story that spans the whole series arc - Wilf has to stop evil Alan's villainous plans. There is an arc for each book - here, (in Book Three of the five book series), Wilf has to stop Alan from raising an animal army in Africa. But, in addition to each book's story arc there are also running unrelated jokes, (Wilf's Mum points out in their every interaction that Wilf has his shoes on the wrong feet), and there are mini-bits that run from a paragraph or two to a page or two. (For example, dung beetles kidnap Wilf's stinky little sister to be their new queen and Wilf has to negotiate her release.) The upshot is that there is always something happening, the book is fast paced, events occur in manageable bits, the jokes are non-stop, and the book has both a breathless screwball feeling and yet a reassuringly solid storyline to keep the young reader on track. All that is quite a feat.

It helps that Wilf is an appealing character. He thinks he's a worrier, but while that might be the case, he always rises to the occasion and shows grit and resourcefulness. He can be very perceptive and insightful, but he can also be a bit clueless and confused. In either mode he is calm, dependable and good humored. This is a character a reader can take to heart, in a silly, poopy sort of way.

The drawings deserve special mention. They always clearly illustrate what's happening in the story. They are crisp and clear and capture the characters and the action with uncanny, and appealing, accuracy. Apart from being entertaining in their own right, these drawings offer another aid to a young new reader. 

So, this turned out to be funnier, smarter, cheerier, sillier, and cleverer (?) than I expected, and I'd count it a happy find for a newer reader.

(Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
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Like many children, Wilf worries about things. Lucky for him he has a pamphlet with all kinds of strategies to help him deal with the many things that keep him awake at night. This was a cute book and the silliness of the situations would appeal to a young reader.  The characters go to Africa and are able to talk to the animals through a crazy invention. I especially liked Kevin the dog who rerouted every conversation to include giving him a dog treat.
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Will definitely appeal to the lower elementary crowd with its jokes and unexpected plot twists. Just the right length / text density  for this age group. Liked the fact that strategies for coping with fears / worries was woven into the book.
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