Chester’s Way

by Kevin Henkes, c1988.

WHY

There are two reasons why I pulled this book off the shelf.

First, Kevin Henkes is great and I had never seen this title before.

Second, “Chester’s Way” sounds like the name of a cul-de-sac and that amused me.

I had names on my mind today because at work we have a Guess the Royal Baby’s name thing going on the whiteboard.  At the top it says “Prince or Princess ______________ of Cambridge” and below is a list of names.

I wrote up “South East” to mock Kim Kardashian and Yeezus naming their baby North West.  Also “Princess South West of Cambridge” sounds like how you would differentiate two towns named Princess in the English countryside.

I also added “Charles Augustus Lindbergh III” to the list because apparently I am obsessed with Lindbergh baby references as you can tell by my mentioning him in two consecutive posts.  I blame Philip Roth.

Other guesses included:

Leia

Honey Boo Boo

and a Doctor Who reference I didn’t get because I never get Doctor Who references.

Apparently the baby will actually be named Elizabeth or John.

Probably.

Maybe.

WHAT

Henkes introduces us to Chester a type A mouse like no other.  Actually scratch that, unlike most of Henkes other very unique characters Chester is in fact just like another.  Chester and his bestie Wilson are practically clones.  They have all the same preferences, habits and idiosyncrasies. They are two peas in a pod.  This really went against my expectations.

Usually I don’t go for this type of set-in-his-ways character but right off the bat, on page two, I found out that Chester cuts his sandwiches on the diagonal.  After that Chester could do no wrong in my eyes.

Even when I found out that Chester and Wilson never swing at the first pitch (which is a ridiculous philosophy I have spent hours of my life arguing against, often to the point of raised voices, with both my father and grandfather) I was still decidedly on their side.  Diagonal sandwich cuts trump first pitch nonsense anyday.

But then I got to roughly the middle of the book and found a montage of different couples Halloween costumes that Chester and Wilson had gone out in over the years.  Salt and pepper shakers, etc.  One year they even went literally as two peas in a pod.

Now Chester and Wilson were just starting to make me jealous.  Couples Halloween costumes!  Somehow this book had veered off course and started to just make me feel extra super duper single.  I hurriedly turned the page.

Right then Lilly moved into the neighborhood!  Finally some new blood to shake up this type A bromance!  I know Lilly from other Henkes books but Chester and Wilson get to meet her for the first time here.  I’m not going to ruin the ending but suffice it to say I was back on board with all Chester and Wilson ( and Lilly’s) life decisions by the time I shut the book.

Diagonal sandwiches for life.

WHO

The writers for that show Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place should read this book.  This is how you write a tripod friendship.

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