cover image Diary of a Baby Wombat

Diary of a Baby Wombat

Jackie French, illus. by Bruce Whatley, Clarion, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-547-43005-8

The slothful star of 2003's Diary of Wombat is now a "mum" (reflecting the book's Australian setting), and her chubby blue offspring takes center stage. And while the wombats' talent for sleep continues to set them apart, it's nice to know that certain things are common across species; when the baby becomes annoying (he uses his mother's stomach as a trampoline), "Mum decided it was time to PLAY... OUTSIDE!" He meets up with a human baby who becomes his playmate (they splash each other with a hose and try out each others' morning snacks—grass and a bottle of milk), and inadvertently helps the ever-expanding (in terms of girth) wombat family find more spacious digs. The story itself is almost incidental: the real fun comes from the interplay of French's laconic journalizing ("Afternoon: Played" and "Morning: Woke up. BORED..." are typical entries), the poker-faced typography, and Whatley's wry acrylic spot illustrations, which unspool on a single plane like a droll parade, suggesting the kind of long, leisurely days that seem to stretch on forever. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)