Mr. Wilmer by Robert Lawson is the story of William Wilmer. William lives a very dull life of routine and nothing exciting ever happens to him... Unless of course, you count the smile he receives every day from the beautiful red-headed Miss Sweeney, a secretary at the Safe, Sane and Colossal Insurance Company where he works.
Even William's birthdays are dull and predictable. In fact, as the narrator tells us, William wouldn't even remember his birthday if it weren't for the usual birthday card from his Aunt Edna with the usual birthday greeting. The story opens on the morning of William Wilmer's twenty-ninth birthday. The day dawns as ordinary as any day and William has no reason to expect that it will be any different... that is up until the moment that the Policeman's horse speaks to him...
Very quickly William Wilmer's dull and uneventful life is turned upside down and his new found gift sets him on some wonderful and exciting adventures.
Mr. Wilmer is a delightful story. If you are expecting a Dr. Doolittle type story, this is not it, though I can understand the confusion considering it's about a man who talks to animals.
I first heard this story as a child when my mother read it aloud to my siblings and I. The copy she read was borrowed from a local library, though a few years later when I returned to borrow it I could no longer find it. A couple years later I went on a search to find my own copy and was successful in purchasing an old library edition published in 1945.
The story is a fun and quick read even though it totals 218 pages. Robert Lawson illustrated his story with clever pen and ink sketches that added depth to the story. As early as I can remember I have been a fan of Robert Lawson's drawings. I mentioned him before on this blog as the illustrator for the children's book Ferdinand. Lawson also wrote and illustrated a wonderful story called Rabbit Hill, which is told from the animals perspective. But far and above all his works I love Mr. Wilmer.
Although this may be a difficult book to locate it is worth the search. If your library doesn't own a copy be sure to check out some of the online used book stores. This is a treasure of a book, great as a read aloud to older children or even to read to oneself as a teen or adult.