Wendy Quill Is Full Up Of Wrong is the third volume in the Wendy Quill series, which starts with Wendy Quill is a Crocodile’s Bottom and then Wendy Quill Tries to Grow A Pet, both of which I have reviewed on Making them Readers.
The character of Wendy Quill is based on Wendy Meddour’s own childhood experiences, and in the back of each book she tells you which bits of each of the stories in the book are more or less true, and which bits are fabricated for the story. There are also accompanying photographs showing Wendy when she was a child. I find this element of the stories rather charming. I think I would have liked Wendy when she was little. There is just enough mischief to make her interesting, alongside a whole heap of kinder emotions to make her lovely.
In this book, which, like the previous two volumes, consists of three, thematically linked stories; Wendy explores her own sense of guilt at being wrong or bad. The things that she feels guilty about are not too terrible, and the moral pathway is clearly marked within the story, so you do not need to worry about them tempting a child along the path of evil.
In the first story, Wendy accidentally knocks down an old lady on her first unaccompanied trip to the corner shop on her bike. This story is the weakest of the three, as there are a few loopholes that you will recognise if you are an adult reader, and which, if you’re me, will drive you slightly bonkers. If you’re a child reader you will almost certainly not notice them at all. As it is, the loopholes exist in order to make a much neater and more satisfying ending to the story than if they had been sewn up at the time, so all is well, narratively speaking.
In the second story Wendy learns a valuable lesson about friendship. In the third story, which is my favourite, Wendy and her best friend Florence, accidentally find a ghost helps them accidentally knock Wendy’s sister’s diary down from the shelf where it is supposed to be top secret. The ghost also accidentally helps them read it.
The stories work best for me when their morals and niceness are leavened with a huge dollop of mischief and fun, as in the third story. The misunderstandings in the first story are quite amusing too, and redeem it from being too sentimental. The second story is a bit too nice for me, but that’s not a criticism, it’s just me.
My son and I agreed that we enjoyed the Crocodile’s Bottom volume of stories most of all three volumes of Wendy Quill stories, although we liked books two and three too. We will continue reading and hope that Wendy lets her mischievous streak out a little more in future.
This volume is mostly aimed at girl readers, particularly the second story, although there are elements of the stories that both girls and boys will enjoy. The illustrations by Wendy’s twelve year old daughter, Mina May, are as excellent as ever, and really lift the stories, particularly the annotated marginalia and asides. The book would make a fantastic transitional reader for girls aged 7-10. It would be wonderful for younger readers as bed time stories too, as each story would fit nicely into an evening’s reading slot.