Wombat by Christopher Cheng and Liz Duthie

cover image

A new book in the stunning series called Nature Stoybooks, (‘where every wonderful word is true’) has two fonts, the text in one font is a fictional story of a wombat, while the other gives information using a non fiction tone. Each story is true, so children will extract a great deal of information about wombats from the book. Like the others in the series, the storyline is inviting and generous, creating an intimate portrait of a female wombat going about her daily sleep routine and night time forage. The factual text fills in the details of a wombat’s life, enhancing the words already absorbed by the reader.

We see and read of the female wombat digging a burrow, sharing with another wombat, foraging through the grasses for food, avoiding the clutches of the predatory dingo out hunting for a meal.

The wombat, ‘the bulldozer of the bush’, will engage younger readers with the facts about its claws and fur, its short leg and backwards facing pouch, its little ears and poor eyesight. All of the facts given will intrigue younger readers and these are enhanced by the stunning illustrations by Duthie. They will see the words described in the accompanying illustrations, be able to work out why the animal is as she is, look at her environment and feel the cool dark burrow she digs out for her living quarters. The illustrations give a stunning vista of the wombat's life, and the book’s endpapers will give the reader an idea of what it is like to burrow beneath the earth. A page of extra information is given along with a short index, rounding off a most satisfactory introduction to this wonderful Australian marsupial.

Readers will learn an array of new words: nocturnal, marsupial, mammal, predator, burrow and so on, adding to their knowledge of Australian wildlife. Teacher's notes are available.

Fran Knight