Wally is a worried/anxious little boy. He is sort-of hunched over, quiet, not sure of himself, etc. The Whatifs are intrusive, sneaky and have a lot of power. It’s really hard for Wally to deal with the Whatifs. Wally doesn’t understand, at least in the beginning of the book that HE has the power to face the Whatifs and see that they are not so scary after all. If he can have one good hour or more (like with Henry and the spy cards), where the Whatifs are quiet, he can build on that. Close to the end of the book, we see him with that power and confidence. He is smiling and standing tall.
The Whatifs. Quiet, sneaky and very persistent. We all have Whatifs. The Whatifs are basically fear; fear that sits on your shoulder, only inches away from your ears, speaks very quickly and makes it very hard to hear what’s going on around you.
Wally’s mom is his cheerleader. She can see what he goes through on a daily basis and while she sees his pain, she doesn’t indulge the Whatifs. What she does do is give Wally tools to manage those pesky Whatifs.
Henry is a brief character in the book but a very important one. It’s clear that Henry doesn’t have to deal with Whatifs. Henry is all out there, sure of himself, not afraid. We see that when Henry invites Wally to play with his super spy cards. He’s never met Wally and yet, even though he is the “new” kid, he approaches Wally unafraid. And Wally starts to feel calm around Henry.
Mrs. Hugso, just like her name implies, is a very loving, patient teacher. She is Wally’s second mom. I remember having a teacher in 2nd grade, Mrs. Goldman, and as her name implied she was so patient, happy and loved being a teacher. I imagine Mrs. Hugso being like Mrs. Goldman.