The Wombats go on camp by Roland Harvey

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2013. ISBN 9781743315040.
A Roland Harvey book is always a gem with plenty to discover in each picture. With the success of his other books like At the beach and In the city and my particular favourite My Place in space we have come to expect busy pages of tiny detailed, colourful and humorous pictures populated by a wealth of characters. The Wombats go on camp is more focussed, featuring a small group of twelve children and two adults.
The Wombats are attending their first ever camp. The end papers contain a picture and profile for each student which gives relevant information about their likes and dislikes. Each double page spread features an activity at camp from the bus trip through settling in to the dormitory to the usual adventure activities, performance, night walk and late night scary stories. Accompanying each picture is a reflection by one of the students on the activity and the actions of their peers.
While there is not the usual chaotic feel to the pictures there are familiar touches in his signature kangaroos, possums and other native animals scattered through the pages. Other quirky drawings keep the reader amused from the adults racing to save adventurous children to an elephant's trunk appearing at the performance. My favourite page would have to be the night walk for its atmospheric feel.
The Wombats will be popular with students familiarising themselves with what to expect before they embark on their first camp, and to remind the teachers that they may be mad suggesting a camp in the first place.
Sue Keane