Reviews for Wendel's Workshop

Booklist Reviews 2010 February #1
Wendel, a hardworking inventor mouse, sometimes invents so much he forgets to sleep, and whenever a doodad doesn't work, he just tosses it aside. To handle the scrap heap, he invents a robot, names it Clunk, and sets it to work tidying up. But when Clunk makes a few mistakes, Wendel sends the robot to the junk pile and invents a bigger, badder cleaning robot, the Wendelbot. This one goes on a psycho cleaning jag and whisks Wendel right out of his workshop. Reunited with Clunk, Wendel invents an army of messy-minded robots to blow a gasket in the Wendelbot. In the end, Wendel learns that broken things demand mending, not trashing. Riddell fuses a gently twisted sensibility with his trademark finely wrought pen work and displays a winning sense of scale, filling some pages with multiple vignettes and others with full bleeds to punctuate the drama. Super fun, with tons to look at and a helpful but understated message, this picture book is ideal for solo readings, where the intricacies of the artwork can be fully appreciated. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
Untidy Wendel, quick to toss his less-than-perfect inventions down the garbage chute, creates an overzealous tidying-up robot that tosses Wendel onto the scrapheap. Reusing his castoff junk pile, Wendel constructs an army of robots to combat the crazy cleaner and learns the value of recycling (through the green message seems tacked on). Engaging and elaborate illustrations animate a host of kooky robots. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 December #1
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) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2010 February

Gr 1-4--Wendel, a mouse and avid inventor, decides to create a robot that will keep his workshop and home clean and neat. The first one, Clunk, ends up in a huge scrap heap outside after folding the clothes in knots, putting teacups away in the sock drawer, and filling the laundry basket with umbrellas. "Wendelbot," his next attempt, goes overboard, often robotically repeating the word "tidy," and ends up dumping Wendel down a chute and into the scrap heap. Wendel and Clunk reunite there and use the scraps from the huge heap to build a team of robot helpers that eradicates Wendelbot. The team works together with Wendel and Clunk to clean and keep his workshop and home somewhat orderly. Although the robots are not perfect, Wendel is content with their different ways of doing chores and decides never to throw anything away again. At times the plot is confusing and the text somewhat choppy. The detailed illustrations done in ink and watercolor are dramatic, but often cluttered and sometimes distracting. Although the Wendelbot is amusing at first, he becomes scary when out of control and Wendel and Clunk decide to blow him up. This book may find an audience with older children, but the messages are not strong enough to make an impression on them.--Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY

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