Editor's note: A tale of alliteration and three friends that's written by Pamela Duncan Edwards, a featured children's author at next weekend's Baltimore Book Festival.
One warm Wednesday morning, the sun winked through Wombat's window and woke her up. "What a wonderful day to wander the world," she thought.
Wombat went to ask Weasel and Woodchuck whether they would go with her.
So they set to work, wondering what to take with them.
Wombat wanted watercress-on-whole-wheat-bread sandwiches, walnut wafers, waffles and whipped cream, wedges of watermelon and her walking stick.
Weasel wanted wieners and liverwurst, and his water pistol.
Woodchuck wanted the "W" volume of Webster's Book of Words, in case they needed to look up information about "The World."
But then Wombat began to worry. "WHAT IF ... ... we're walking past the wallflowers and a swarm of wasps is waiting? "What if we're running away and we're not watching where we're going and suddenly we're wading up to our waists in water? What if a wave whooshes over us and a wallowing walrus swims up and swallows us?"
"If we're going swimming," said Weasel, "I'll want to wear my water wings!" "You're so wise, Weasel," cried Wombat. "We wont' be worrywarts!"
But then Weasel began to worry. "WHAT IF ... ... we're waltzing down the pathway when a wicked wolf comes winding his way toward us? "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?" "If it's going to be windy," said Woodchuck, "I'll want to wear my woolly underwear!" "You're so wise, Woodchuck," cried Weasel. "We won't be worrywarts."
But the Woodchuck began to worry.
"WHAT IF ...
... we're whistling while we walk through the woods and we wake up an owl? What if he gets worked up and swoops down with a swish of his wings and whisks us away? "What if the weight's too much for him and he drops us into a swamp and a warthog comes waddling along and wallops us?
"If we're going flying," said Wombat, "I'll want to wear my wind helmet!" "You're so wise, Wombat," cried Woodchuck. "We won't be worrywarts."
Then, without wasting any more time, they went to wander the world.
After a while, Wombat said, "I was wondering whether we should eat our sandwiches?"
But suddenly, "WATCH OUT!" warned a woodpecker from a weeping willow tree.
Something whooshed around Wombat's watercress-on-whole-wheat-bread sandwiches.
"A wasp!" she cried.
Swiftly, Wombat whacked the air with her walking stick and whizzed a wedge of watermelon into some weeds.
"Wow!" whooped the wasp. "Watermelon! Mouthwatering!" And the wasp went winging away. "Well done, Wombat!" cried Weasel and Woodchuck. "You were wonderful!" "You're welcome," said Wombat, and they set off again to wander the world.
But suddenly, "WATCH OUT!" came a whisper from a rabbit warren. Someone came swaggering down the pathway toward them.
"Whoops!" cried Weasel. "A wicked wolf!" Swiftly, Weasel twirled his wieners and liverwurst into some wildflowers and swooshed his water pistol at the wolf. "Wieners and liverwurst!" cried the wolf, wiping his wet whiskers. "I'm wild about wieners and liverwurst!"
Away he went with his tail wagging. "Way to go!" cried Wombat and Woodchuck. "You were very wily, Weasel!" "We weren't wimps," agreed Weasel, and they set off again to wander the world.
But suddenly, "WATCH OUT!" warbled a wagtail. Woodchuck saw an eye twinkling behind a twig.
"An owl!" he cried.
Swiftly, Woodchuck whirled his "W" volume of Webster's Book of Words at the owl. WHANG!
"Whoopee!" cried the owl. "Just what I wanted to help me with my word game!" "You're so wise, Woodchuck," said Wombat and Weasel. "We've walked a long way," said Wombat. "I'm weak and weary," said Weasel. "I'm worn out," said Woodchuck.
So they went back along the pathway.
"When will we wander the world again?" wondered Wombat. "I wish we could go again next week," said Weasel. "Why not?" said Woodchuck.
WHAT IF ... ?"
From THE WORRYWARTS by Pamela Duncan Edwards. Text copyright (copyright symbol) 1999 by Pamela Duncan Edwards. Illustrations (copyright symbol) 1999 by Henry Cole. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins.