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April 7, 2011 Edition

Diary of a BABY Wombat, by Jackie French, illustrated by Bruce Whatley


Baby wombat takes up where mom left off (Diary of a Wombat) and details his day for young readers. But while the text is sparse, the pictures add the details: baby wombat writes about sleeping till late morning and then waking up, the smooth lines of Whatleyís pen show mom and baby going from side-by-side snoozing to cozy baby-on-top snuggling and finally to mom being smothered by her wriggly young oneís torso on her face. When baby wombat makes a new friend (a baby human), mom gets a reprieve of sorts, until both babies crowd into the wombat den for a nap. The hunt is on for a new hole to sleep in and baby wombat searches enthusiastically, but without luck. Mom saves the day (for a while, anyway) when she and baby dig a special kind of hole Ė a tunnel Ė into a very special kind of den thatís big enough for all of them.

Betsy Red Hoodie, by Gail Carson Levine, illustrated by Scott Nash.


Betsyís old enough to take cupcakes to her grandmother all by herself! But she isnít really alone Ėher whole herd of sheep (clad in hiking gear) and the second shepherd, Zimmo, are going along for the outing, and boy, are they trouble. Zimmoís a wolf, and everyone knows that wolves arenít good for grandmas. Betsyís suspicions are aroused when it starts raining and Zimmo zips off. And when Betsy finally tugs each and every sheep up the muddy trail all by herself, she finds all of Grandmaís lights off and fears the worst. But thereís a big happy birthday surprise waiting for her! Plenty of puns, a dashingly-dressed wolf, and well-outfitted sheep enliven this silly spoof of an old tale.

Bunny Days, written and illustrated by Tao Nyeu


As Mr. and Mrs. Goat go about their daily chores, they unwittingly wreak havoc on the lives of the six bunnies who live on the farm in these three very short stories. First, the bunnies get splashed with mud by Mr. Goat as they soak up a little sun and Bear comes to the rescue, using the washing machine set on the delicate cycle. Next, Mrs. Goat accidentally vacuums the bunnies up, clogging the vacuum with bunnies, and Bear comes to the rescue again, removing bunnies from the vacuum bag, dust from the bunnies, and finally, putting everything back together again. In the third story, Mr. Goat is trimming the hedge as the bunnies play hide and seek, resulting in a few bunnies without tails and tails without bunnies, which Bear quickly and gently fixes. And in the end, after a little rest and some cake and tea, everyone is healthy, happy, and whole once again. The gentle and funny spring-colored art makes the light stories shine.

Aggie the Brave, by Lori Ries, illustrated by Frank W. Dormer.


Ben knows just what to tell his dog, Aggie, when she has to go to the vet: Be brave, Aggie! But when Ben finds out that Aggie is going to spend the night at the vetís office, itís Ben who needs to be brave. He and Aggie havenít ever spent the night apart before and itís lonely without her. Worse, when she comes home the next day, she doesnít run around and play and Ben can tell sheís embarrassed about her silly-looking lamp-head that will keep her from chewing on her stitches. Both Ben and Aggie are happy when, two weeks later, her stitches come out, the lamp-head comes off, and the two friends can run and play just like before. This is more than a book about pets and vets: itís a delightful story in its own right.

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