The Wondrous Journals of Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins

Lesley M.M. Blume, illus. by David Foote. Knopf, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-375-86850-4
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The team behind Modern Fairies, Dwarves, Goblins, and Other Nasties (2010) returns with another whimsical account of creatures strange and surreal, designed as a series of journals written between 1850 and 1885. The story follows mustachioed explorer Wiggins, “the greatest paleozoologist of all time,” as he travels the world, continent by continent, in search of prehistoric wonders and long-extinct species. His journeys turn up several oversize creatures (including island-sized whales and 10-story sloths), as well as animals one might classify as evolutionary missteps, like glowing bats and two-headed buffalo. There are also previously unknown branches of humanity, like Camel-Backed Geyser Geniuses, Goldeaters, and Hummingbird People. Wiggins’s findings are detailed as journal entries—accompanied by Foote’s comically stylized scientific illustrations and footnotes that contextualize Wiggins’s discoveries—often capped by pithy sayings (regarding the demise of the Gossip Peacocks: “sharp teeth always seem to win out over a sharp tongue”). This is less a story than a glorious unveiling of the long-hidden and very weird “history” of life on Earth. Ages 8–12. Agents: (for Blume) Jay Mandel, William Morris Endeavor; (for Foote) Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2012
Release date: 08/07/2012
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 243 pages - 978-0-375-96850-1
Ebook - 195 pages - 978-0-375-89918-8
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-375-87218-1
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