Riley and the grumpy wombat by Tania McCartney
Ill. by Kieron Pratt. Ford St., 2011. ISBN 978 1921665493.
(Ages 5+) Picture book. The fourth in the Riley series, see Riley, digging in his grandmother's garden to make mud pies, happens upon a wombat hole. Inside is a very grumpy wombat and it soon scurries off to find safety elsewhere. The indomitable Riley then heads off on his contraption to find the hapless animal, thus flying over parts of Melbourne and Victoria, giving the reader a visual tour of the state and its attractions.
The little red plane, replete with Riley at the controls, and accompanied by his friends, panda and koala and two toys, flies over Melbourne searching in the strangest of places for the wombat. Children will love telling the reader that these places could not possibly be the places to find wombat, as they see Bourke Street Mall, Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, South Bank amongst others. They then go to places more likely to find a wombat, Royal Botanic Gardens, Dandenong Ranges, and Great Ocean Road, but still with no success.
Eventually of course the wombat is found, in of course a mud villa, thus returning to the theme of the opening lines.
A neat introduction of the sights of Victoria, this will be well used in classrooms where books about Australia are there for younger children to research, particularly in light of 2012 being The National year of Reading, and using Alison Lester's book, Are we there yet? as its theme.