Cover image for Weslandia
1st ed.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA : Candlewick Press, c1999.
Physical Description:
unpaged : color illustrations.
Reading Level:
AD 820 L Lexile
Added Author:
Wesley's garden produces a crop of huge, strange plants which provide him with clothing, shelter, food, and drink, thus helping him create his own civilization and changing his life.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book EASY FLE 1 1
Book EASY FLE 1 1
Book EASY FLE 0 1
Book EASY FLE 1 1

On Order



Weslandia honors the misfits -- and the creators -- among us.

School is over and Wesley needs a summer project. Having learned that every civilization has a staple food crop, he decides to plant a garden and start his own -- civilization, that is. He turns over a plot of earth in his yard, and plants begin to grow. Soon they tower above him and bear a curious-looking fruit. As Wesley experiments, he discovers that the plant will provide food, clothing, shelter, and even recreation. It isn't long before neighbors and classmates have developed more than an idle curiosity about Wesley and exactly how he is spending his summer vacation. Enter the witty, intriguing world of Weslandia .

Author Notes

Paul Fleischman was born in Monterey, California on September 5, 1952. His father is fellow children's author, Sid Fleischman. He attended the University of California at Berkeley for two years, from 1970 to 1972. He dropped out to go on a cross-country train/bicycle trip and along the way took care of a 200-year-old house in New Hampshire. He eventually earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of New Mexico in 1977.

Fleischman has written over 25 books for children and young adults including award winners such as Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, Newberry Medal in 1989; Graven Images, Newberry Honor; Bull Run, Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction; Breakout, Finalist for the National Book Award in 2003; Saturnalia, Boston Globe-Horn Book Fiction Honor. He has also garnered numerous awards and recognitions from the American Library Association, School Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, and NCTE.

He founded the grammar watchdog groups ColonWatch and The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to English.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 6

Horn Book Review

(Primary, Intermediate) Wesley is a nonconformist suffering rejection from classmates who torment him for his weird views (such as thinking professional football stupid and disliking pizza) until he puts his school lessons to use and founds his own civilization-Weslandia. Beginning with the discovery of a new staple crop that Wesley christens ""swist,"" the idea works superbly, its flowering caught equally well in text and illustrations that seamlessly flow together from beginning to end. Double-page spreads explode with color barely contained within the book. Vegetation, insects, and wild creatures abound as Wesley utilizes flower, fruit, rind, tuber, and leaf to create and maintain his new home. A language and counting system evolve to support his innovations; it's all here and it all fits. Combining the allure of fantasy and science fiction with the dismissal of socially acceptable norms creates a true paradise for today's pre-teen and terrific fodder for social studies classes. At another level, the story works for younger children, who will be drawn to the art and appreciate Wesley's inventiveness, indomitable spirit, and ultimate triumph. e.s.w. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4Wesley marches to a different drummer. Looking for the perfect summer project, this social outcast remembers reading that every culture has a staple food crop. He decides to plant some seeds in his suburban backyard. In Robinson Crusoe fashion, he finds uses for each part of the unique and unusual plant that emerges (he calls it swist, from the sound its leaves make). By the time school starts again, he has created an entire civilization, including a language, complex games, a counting system, and a sundialall based on the plant. In a very satisfying turn of events, the mohawk-topped kids seen tormenting Wesley in the opening scene march behind their fearless leader, outfitted in Weslandic togs, at the conclusion. Hawkess highly tactile acrylic interpretations of Fleischmans ideas are detailed and clever, his palette brimming with tropical tones. His caricatures of the myopic protagonist, the nosy neighbor, and Wess dim-witted parents are quirky and fresh. The spread of Wesley, surrounded by a jungle of lush red flowers, roasting the tubers and drinking the nectar from his own squeezing device, is any kids idea of paradise. From the personal hieroglyphs on the endpapers to the lacrosse-like game played on pogo sticks, ideas present themselves, ready to pollinate fertile young imaginations. While this book offers a highly inventive approach to any number of topicsbullies, anthropology, individuality, gardening, summer vacationdont wait for a reason to share it.Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-Young Wesley, who marches to a different drummer, decides to create his own civilization. Glowing acrylics highlight the cookie-cutter conformity of his neighborhood and the extraordinary and exotic details of his new and flourishing domain. (June) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

This fantastical picture book, like its hero, is bursting at the seams with creativity. Wesley's imagination sets him apart; not only does he sport purple sneakers and glasses, he thinks football is stupid and refuses to shave half his head like all the other boys. "He sticks out," says his mother. "Like a nose," bemoans his father. Ironically, a banal aside from his father gives Wesley an idea for a summer project: he establishes a new civilization in his own backyard, eventually attracting his former tormentors and befriending them. Fleischman (Joyful Noise) and Hawkes (My Little Sister Ate One Hare) offer a vigorous shot in the arm to nonconformists everywhere. A droll, deadpan text describes how Wesley prepares the soil for a seemingly magical influx of seedlings. Unable to identify the new staple crop, Wesley names it "swist," gathers food from its fruit and tubers, weaves clothing from its fibers and fashions suntan lotion and mosquito repellent from the oil of its seeds (which, in a Tom Sawyeresque business maneuver, he allows his now-curious foes to grindÄand then he sells the product to them). In vibrant, puckish acrylic paintings, Hawkes captures the entrepreneurial essence of Wesley. From the makeshift shield that protects him from garbage-throwing classmates to his cluttered bedroom overflowing with inventions and science projects to the giant red-flowering jungle he cultivates, Wesley's universe clearly exists on a slightly parallel plane. Yet Hawkes introduces the outlandish elements so naturally that they seem organic. For instance, an ingenious conception of Wesley's alternative to "traditional sports" shows a lacrosse-like game with a unique scoring feature. And a subtle visual metaphor takes shape in an aerial shot of a cookie-cutter neighborhood in which Wesley's wildly fertile backyard sticks out "like a nose." It's difficult to imagine a better pairing than Fleischman and Hawkes to bring this one-of-a-kind kidÄand his universeÄso vividly to life. And readers will relish the tongue-in-cheek ending in which Wesley's ex-rivals conform to the nonconformist. Ages 4-9. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. With parents who seem to have leaped straight out of the 1950s, and kids with haircuts that yell "1990s," there's an appealing quirkiness about this purposeful fantasy, which is ripe with possibilities for discussion and guaranteed to be a favorite with every outsider child. Ingenious Wesley is an outcast in a society of sameness: "He alone in his town disliked pizza and soda, alarming his mother and the school nurse." Bullying and parental pressure have little effect, merely solidifying his focus on the science he so loves. When he hits on the idea for using what he's learned for a summer project, his parents scoff . . . until the magical seeds he cultivates yield an extraordinary crop that serves as the basis for a new civilization, Weslandia. Playful wit and cleverness mark the text as practical, farsighted Wesley wins over his detractors and validates himself. A lot of the charm is in the large, richly colored, double-spread artwork. Children will want to spend plenty of time with it, not only looking for reappearing motifs but also mulling over the multitude of fine, funny details. It melds beautifully with the text, creating a wonderfully appealing scenario--a kid taking charge, loving it, and succeeding brilliantly on his own terms. --Stephanie Zvirin

Kirkus Review

Wearing purple sneakers and a bemused expression, Wesley knows he's an outcast: he dislikes pizza, soda, and football, and fleeing his tormentors is ``the only sport he was good at.'' When he learns that each civilization has its own staple food crop, he takes as his summer project turning over a plot of ground in the back yard, and seeds brought by the wind begin to grow. Wesley can't find the plants in any book, but the fruit and the juice are delicious, as are the tubers on the roots. He makes a hat from the bark and a robe from the inner fibers, and sells the seed oil to his former enemies as a suntan lotion/mosquito repellent. It isn't long before he's moved out to the yard, and invents an alphabet and a whole raft of sports for the place he calls Weslandia. In sumptuously detailed illustrations, Hawkes has vividly imagined Fleischman's puckish text, capturing both the blandness of Wesley's suburban surroundings and then the fabulous encroachment of the rainforest-like vegetation of his green and growing place. Children will be swept up in Wesley's vision, and have a fine time visiting Weslandia. An alphabet appears on the endpapers. (Picture book. 5-9)