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The Worrywarts

Pamela Duncan Edwards

2000 Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award Masterlist
2000-01 Black-Eyed Susan Award Masterlist
A tongue twister story book for children aged 4 to 9. One warm Wednesday Wombat wakes up, wistfully thinking that it's a wonderful day to wander the world. Off she waltzes to invite Weasel and Woodchuck to wander with her, but they are overwhelmed with worries: What if they walk into a swarm of waiting wasps? What if the weather worsens? What if they're walloped by warthogs? What then...?


As they did in Some Smug Slug, Edwards and Cole here use alliteration to lighthearted and humorous effect. On a "warm Wednesday morning," Wombat, Weasel and Woodchuck contemplate all the terrible misadventures that could befall them while preparing for a "wander into the world." There is a predictable rhythm to the story, in which each character, in turn, experiences that "Wait! What if..." feeling and is offered comfort and assurance by the other two companions. When Weasel worries what will happen if they are swept into the wilderness by a whirlwind while being chased by a wolf, Woodchuck wisely decides to wear his woolly underwear if it's going to be windy. Yet, it is, in fact, each character who ultimately faces his or her own fear and saves the entourage from any impending danger. Cole's childlike colored pencil drawings portray even the scariest of scenes in a wholly whimsical way to keep even the wimpiest of worrywarts from worrying. —Publishers Weekly

When Wombat, Weasel, and Woodchuck decide to wander the world, they each choose a favorite food or item they'd like to take along. Worry sets in, and they add to their list of needs to prevent the imagined dangers. Once out in the world, their fears become real, and it is their original foods and objects that save them. Prolific picture-book duo Edwards and Cole miss slightly with this alliterative tale: "What if we're running away when the weather worsens? What if a whirlwind blows in from the west and sweeps us away into the wilderness?" In Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke (1995) and Some Smug Slug (1996, both HarperCollins), half of the fun was in finding "f" and "s" words and shapes in the illustrations. In this book, the wordy text leaves no "w" unuttered. Cole's cartoon colored-pencil illustrations are lively and fun, but the text overpowers them. Even this team's fans will find this story forced and disappointing. —School Library Journal