By Betty Fasig
The Tales Of Wooffer’s Woods : Wooffer is a collection of thirty-three short animal-adventure children stories originally written by Betty Fasig for her family. The center character is Wooffer, a hairy dachshund puppy that “mom”, the author, receives as a surprise Xmas gift from her fun-loving family.
A host of animals grace the pages of Wooffer, including Old Agnes the mouse, thoughtful and protective Margaret the hen, Marygrey the pregnant rabbit, a proud and endearing peacock named Cho Lee who loves to strut his stuff and falls in love with a quail, and best friends Ibie the Ibis and Maudie the horse.
The stories are thoughtfully placed in chronological order, right down to the season. It even includes a Xmas story! This is a book about a puppy that changes the opinions of those around him, wins hearts and becomes a reliable, heroic friend. Wooffer earns respect from all the animals for miles around and becomes a bit of a legend by the time he grows up.
Generally warm, fun and light-hearted, Wooffer also tackles real-life issues from moving, loneliness, gaining respect, discerning truth from what one is told, getting lost, overcoming bullies and more.
Having spent a few years on a farm in my youth, I see germs of truth in the animal relationships and can verify the strange and wonderful bonds that happen between species. The epilogue provides a nice closure by revealing how all the animals still return to the same area annually and spend time with Wooffer and his friends discussing the old times and having new adventures.
Inserted occasionally are several adorable amateur drawings of life and adventures on the farm that are sure to entertain children. The cover is a photograph of the inspiration for the main character – the author’s dog – which gives a more realistic feel to the book than a characterization or drawing could have done.
The book’s underlying theme is that no matter how small a person may think they are, or how small of a thing they may do – they can make a difference to the lives of those around them. And this is an encouraging thought.
Wooffer is an excellent book for bedtime stories, but will be best enjoyed when reading to groups of children. Written in such a way that the reader can easily characterize the animals and situations with their voice, the book is sure to bring giggles of joy to groups of children. As such, I think Wooffer would be an excellent addition to the bookshelves of libraries, schools, daycare centers and the like.