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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Diary of a Baby Wombat, written by Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Whatley. Harper, 2009. $9.99 ages 4 and up

"Mum decided
it was time to play...
Smelled the flowers.
Ate the flowers.
Flowers are

If you remember and enjoyed Wombat's first will be very happy to meet Mothball's baby. She has obviously mentored him to be as rambunctious as she was...and more! He loves to sleep, but is quickly bored with that sedentary life. Poor Mum wants nothing more than to rest and relax. It's a tough sell for a curious, climbing joey. He likes to do all those things that his mother did before him and in his travels, he comes face to face with someone who smells vaguely familiar and even has some of the same characteristics...a baby!

They play together and then both fall exhausted into slumber...only to get up the next morning and do it all over again. Now, naptime brings another young charge for Mothball to comfort. As her baby grows and gains momentum, their home hole seems to be getting smaller and Mum decides they need a BIGGER one. Off he goes to accommodate her request. A new hole is dug. With three inhabitants, it is still too small. The hunt is on for another, bigger, more comfortable place.

Of course, the search is hampered by the many distractions that life brings and the fun that two youngsters can generate. Baby finds a GIANT hole and is anxious to tell his Mum about it. When they return, they find it gone (that is, the door is closed). So, the digging begins in earnest. All done, settled and happy, it is time to look back at the week that has passed and 'read it again'.

Bruce Whatley is the perfect artist for Jackie French's spare and droll humor. His roly-poly hero gets into much mischief and mayhem, without the slightest hint being given in the text for what transpires. And yet, her words conjure up such funny images for him and thankfully, for us. The equally roly-poly human is the perfect playmate. A lot can happen for these two in one short week!

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