/ Lead title A wombat's work is never done! / Fresh, contemporary picture book / Australian tale with humorous text by award-winning author, Jackie French, and affection illustrations by Bruce Whatley / Jackie French has sold over 1 million copies of her acclaimed children's fiction / Diary of a Wombat has won several prestigious Australian awards and Book of the Year Cuffie Award in the USA in 2003
Jackie French was born in Sydney in 1953, grew up in Brisbane, graduated from the University of Queensland and moved to her present home in NSW bush land in her mid twenties. Over the past 10 years she has published over a hundred books on diverse subjects ranging from children's fiction to pest control! Bruce Whatley was born in the United Kingdom and emigrated with his parents to Australia during his childhood. He often collaborates on picture books with his wife, Rosie Smith.
K-Gr 2-Through simple sentences and hilarious yet realistic acrylic illustrations, readers are treated to a week of observations made by a young female wombat who becomes chummy with a human family. The diarist's obsessions with sleep and carrots allow a rest from heavier chuckles over a confrontation with a welcome mat: "Discovered flat, hairy creature invading my territory. Fought major battle with flat, hairy creature. Won battle. Neighbors should be pleased. Demanded a reward." French's text, in Kid's Stuff Plain font, also indirectly informs on habitat and wombats' nocturnal lifestyle. Whatley gives a sublime balance of the adorable charm of the creature, along with its drawbacks as an acquaintance. This title will team nicely with Margaret Spurling's Bilby Moon (Kane/Miller, 2001) for studies of Australian wildlife.-Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
'French and Whatley have conjured an affectionate, believable wombat self-portrait.' New York Times Book Review
What, exactly, do wombats do all day? One enterprising wombat answers that question and a few others in diary form in French's (No Such Thing) tongue-in-cheek picture book. After explaining his unique Australian heritage, the star of this volume paints a funny, if rather dull, picture of his daily routine. "Monday Morning: Slept./ Afternoon: Slept./ Evening: Ate grass./ Scratched./ Night: Ate grass." Things begin to perk up, however, when the wombat discovers its new human neighbors. Before long, the always-hungry creature is at their door begging for food (preferably carrots or oats), digging in their garden ("Began new hole in soft dirt") and turning his neighbors' belongings into scratching posts. Happily, the human family appears to take the antics of their adopted wild "pet" in stride (though the wombat sees things a bit differently "Have decided that humans are easily trained and make quite good pets"). Whatley (the Detective Donut books) appears to relish this character study; he paints the chocolate-brown wombat in numerous poses and expressions-rolling, scratching, sleeping, chewing-on an ample white background. The artist gives the star expressive eyes without anthropomorphizing her. The often cuddly looking wombat may leave some readers envious of its languid lifestyle. And those curious about other animals' activities can explore Diary of a Worm (reviewed below). Ages 4-7. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.