It’s the first day of school at Wee Ville Elementary School and all the students are excited to be starting a new year. Along with ‘reading, writing, and arithmetic,’ students are about to meet a very special young man with a very positive, truly amazing attitude that will change them all.
As the new school year begins, the children of Mrs. Fernandes’ class are eager to get started and they are happily smiling and chatting away as they choose their new desks. When the youngsters settle down, their teacher welcomes another student who is a bit late arriving for school. Mrs. Fernandes introduces her pupils to Roland Faissett, a boy dressed up as a wizard, complete with cap and magic crystal ball.
Slowly, he walked across the room,
Robe dragging on the floor.
He chose a seat that stood alone
Right by the Exit door.
Roland seems to be a quiet boy, but soon the class is busy with their first assignment – drawing a picture of something they did on summer vacation – and forget about the shy child. At last it’s lunchtime and the students eagerly head to the cafeteria. While there, Caitlin, another of Mrs. Fernandes’ students, notices that Roland isn’t at lunch. Her teacher explains that he had an appointment and would return the next day.
The next day the students in Mrs. Fernandes’ class are happy to see that shy Roland has returned, still in his wizard outfit. The day progresses quickly until recess when the students start asking the young wizard about his outfit. He explains that the nurses at the hospital made the costume and gave him the crystal ball so he could work magic and get better. Roland’s new friends are curious so the boy takes off his hat and shows off his bald head. He explains that, “I had treatments called chemotherapy because my blood is sick,” and that his crystal ball allows him to see his future healthy self which helps him get better. Roland’s new friends are happy to learn that Roland is finished with his treatments and for Halloween, they all do something very special that brings the whole class together to cheer on Roland and his recovery.
Roland Faissett and The Wizards of Wee Ville is a touching story that is perfect to share both with youngsters who are faced with medical challenges as well as their friends who may not understand what is happening. The story doesn’t focus on Roland’s chemo or other challenges, but rather on how the other students react – and help their new friend. They see a boy dressed differently and rather than make fun of him, they ask questions because they are curious. Indeed, even the boy’s name – Roland Faissett (roll and face it) – is a play on words that show the amazing resilience of children. The watercolor illustrations are lovely and add a nice, soft touch to the story.