Wombats are pretty weird by Abi Cushman

cover image
Wombats figure largely in many books published in Australia: there is a series of wombat stories by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley, a wombat book in the series, Nature’s Storybooks by Christopher Cheng and Liz Guthrie, many stories by Lachlan Creagh, a series called Wombat and Fox by Terry Denton, and some classics reprinted, Men Fox’s Wombat Divine, and Marcia Vaughan’s Wombat Stew.
  
So to put up a display of wombat books to encourage readership, is not hard, as many fiction and non fiction books will come easily to hand. So a book about the weird things about wombats is one that will sit well alongside all the others. In this book, the strangeness of our beloved wombat is given centre stage.
 
A non fiction book, this offers maps, diagrams, facts, full pages of information (eg about their cube poo) and lots of humorous illustrations to gather in the readership.
The lovely brown endpapers give a diagram of a wombat burrow and over the page, the snake, a constant in this story, tries to introduce the wary wombat as it scurries off the page. Introduced as a marsupial, that word is explained on the next page with an illustration of the other animals that make up this group of mammals.  A diagram over the page fixes the three types living in Australia and where they are found. We learn about the most unusual characteristic of wombats, the back facing pouch.
 
More wondrous facts about wombats come along; their teeth keep in growing, and they are so tough they can chomp through the hardest of vegetation, even fences. The page the follows offers information about the cube poos, sure to grab readers’ attention. Wombats have sturdy backsides to present to animals that might be tempted to get one for a meal.
 
At the end of the book the information is give in fact boxes, and on the last page is a list of further resources, and images of things to be found in the book, which will delight young readers as they will have to look through the book again to find them all. 
 
By anyone’s standards, wombats are pretty weird, but each of the weird characteristics is about survival. And this book carefully explains this. Inviting illustrations  complete an entertaining and informative book about the wombat.

Themes: Wombats, Survival, Australian fauna, Characteristics, Animal behaviour.

Fran Knight

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