The Wondrous Journals of Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins

The Wondrous Journals of Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins

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by Lesley M. M. Blume

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The journals of Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins might just be the most extraordinary contribution to the study of the earth's past since the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. In the incredible pages of these thought-to-be-lost diaries, Dr. Wiggins—whom we now must consider the greatest paleozoologist of all time—has divulged the secrets of the truly ancient…  See more details below


The journals of Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins might just be the most extraordinary contribution to the study of the earth's past since the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. In the incredible pages of these thought-to-be-lost diaries, Dr. Wiggins—whom we now must consider the greatest paleozoologist of all time—has divulged the secrets of the truly ancient animal world: a world before human beings; a world before dinosaurs; a world that, until now, existed well beyond the outer reaches of human imagination. From deadly Amazonian Whispering Vines (Vitus Sussurus) to curious creatures called Brittle Bones (Futilis Ossis) to a mysterious pet named Gibear (Chiroptera Vicugna Pacosis), the discoveries of Dr. Wiggins will forever change the way we think about the world before us.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
Children's Literature - Heather Welsh
The journals of Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins were thought to be a myth, much as the world thinks of the Lost City of Atlantis. Mysteriously, they appear at the Royal Paleozoological Society's headquarters. A paleozoologist himself, Dr. Wiggins traveled the globe looking for the remains of plants and animals that became extinct centuries ago. During his transatlantic journey, Dr. Wiggins discovered some alarming patterns: each species has a part in their own demise. What began as a research project ultimately turned into a cautionary tale. For example, the Amazonian Whispering Vine, which perished because it was too busy listening to the sound of its own voice to fight off its attackers. There were also the Goldeaters in the Valley of Mexico, whose greed led to their downfall, and the Dreaded Gossip Peacocks of the Bayou. Will humans be the next to wipe themselves out, or will they learn from the doctor's findings? Fans of the "Spiderwick" series will enjoy the similarities between the diagramed pictures of the ancient plants and animals in the journals, which are similar to the images in the "Spiderwick" series. Reluctant readers will rejoice at the frequent maps and pictures that accompany the test every few pages and the footnotes that often define difficult or obscure vocabulary in the text. Reviewer: Heather Welsh
Kirkus Reviews
The creators of the helpful guide to Modern Fairies, Dwarves, Goblins & Other Nasties (2010) now present the equally instructive, long-lost travel journals of a tubby but indefatigable paleozoologist with an unexcelled genius for unearthing uncanny, if long-extinct, animal and humanoid species. Systematically journeying to every continent between 1850 and 1885, Wiggins reports on over three dozen fossilized finds. These include "Thunder Vulcusts" (think vulture-locust), massive-limbed but "Pin-Headed Desert Giants," and "Dreaded Gossip Peacocks" with ears and mouths as well as eyes on their feathers. The "Two-Headed Mammoth Buffalo" has a carnivore at one end and an herbivore at the other ("The whole arrangement reminded me of a marriage," Dr. Wiggins notes jocularly). He also discusses centipede-like "Land Whales," such as the one underlying Nantucket Island. The doctor proffers homiletic speculations about how each species came to its unfortunate end (the buffalos, for instance, probably ate themselves, just as we "are always biting off our own heads") and provides sketched reconstructions of many specimens, with handwritten labels pointing out salient physical features and a human figure, usually tiny, for scale. The satire is neither as sharp as Dr. Swift's nor as comical as Mr. Lear's, but the fictive author's discoveries should, as he hopes, "enlighten, amuse, appall, and guide" young fans of the biosphere's imaginary reaches. (Informational fantasy. 10-13)
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—In 1850, shortly after completing his graduate studies, Dr. Wendell Wiggins sailed from England on a scientific mission that would occupy the remainder of his life. Wiggins believed that life on Earth was much more ancient than was generally assumed-predating the known paleologic eras by millions of years. For 35 years, he explored the remote corners of the world, seeking the relics of these ancient creatures. Now, in his recently discovered journals, the world's greatest paleozoologist describes his arduous travels and astounding discoveries. Accompanied by his pet Gibear, an odd, furry little creature with seemingly mystical powers, the doctor treks from continent to continent in his quest for prehistoric remains. He finds them everywhere-from the Amazonian Umbrella Fish to the Brittle Bones of Cornwall. Written in chatty diary style, the journals often draw moral parallels between contemporary society and the fossil record. For example, Wiggins records that the Two-Headed Mammoth Bison of ancient Nebraska had both herbivore and carnivore heads and ultimately devoured themselves, demonstrating that people are often their own worst enemies. The journals are a fascinating mixture of whimsy and reality. While the prehistoric creatures are wildly fantastic, the settings-from Yellowstone to Antarctica-are real places. References to historical figures and events are sprinkled throughout. Authentically rendered antique maps, sepia-toned pages, and annotated "hand-sketched" illustrations, complete with mock-Latin classification names, enhance the impression of a rediscovered antique travel record. An amusing science fantasy with some subtle but incisive commentary on modern civilization.—Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.08(h) x 1.00(d)
970L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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The Wondrous Journals of Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Giebar and mr devilsticks