Review By KRISTIN WALD
Catching the Wild Waiyuuzee is filled with energy and joy and wonderful imagination. Author Rita Williams-Garcia, widely known for her Young Adult novels, creates a story that is great fun to read, and children will enjoy the rhythmic onomatopoeic words used throughout. The illustrations are as wild as the story, full of color and imagination and happy birds and bugs. Illustrator Mike Reed truly creates an imaginary world to get lost in.
Replaying what is surely a daily ritual for many families, the story comes down to a mother chasing her daughter in order to style her hair. Just like many children, the little girl doesn’t relish the hair tugging and combing she knows is coming, so she runs! “One good wiggle and the Wild Waiyuuzaa was free. Off she ran Tippi Tappi Tippi Tappi back into the bush…” What follows is a hide and seek in and among the imagined mango groves, iguana caves, and into the bush filled with beetles and snakes and colorful birds. The mother finally catches her wild Waiyuuzee by promising there is “No owie owie” waiting for her.
The mystery in the story is about discovering what type of creature the Wild Waiyuuzee is as it follows her in her attempts to hide from Shemama. The illustrations are colorful and detailed, and they hint as to the true identity of the Wild Waiyuuzee. In the spirit of Where the Wild Things Are, pictures combine imaginative details with true surroundings. And the poetic and sweet words shared by the child and her mother will ring true to a parental ear. My family loved the birds and bugs as well as the fun words and adventure in the hide-and-seek portrayed.
A word of warning: Children will want their hair beaded like the little girl’s by the end of the book!
Recommended for ages 3-7.