The premise of the book is that it is the first publication of the rediscovered journals of a heretofore-unknown British adventurer and paleo-zoologist (that is, one who studies pre-prehistoric animals), Dr. Wellington Wiggins. These journalists recount his explorations and investigations as he criss-crosses the globe, discovering one amazing species after another, all of them quite unknown and more than a little odd. Among my favorites were the “Land” Whales, the Rainbow-Spitting Cobras and the Fluff Bunnies, although really, all the imagined creatures were wonderful.
The main – and for me, fatal – flaw in this in many ways charming book is the lack of plot. The whole book can fundamentally be summarized thus: Nineteenth-century adventurer goes places and sees neat things. This is an oversimplification of course, and does not hint at the humor or imagination THE WONDROUS JOURNALS hold. Yet the lack of forward-movingness is a problem for me. Had I not approached the book expecting a story, I suppose I might have been less dissatisfied. As a compendium of the fantastic, it is a fun read.