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Diary of a Wombat
     

Diary of a Wombat

4.8 8
by Jackie French, Bruce Whatley (Illustrator)
 

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Wombats are cuddly-looking, slow-moving Australian animals. Their favorite activities are eating, sleeping, and digging holes. Here, in the words of one unusually articulate wombat, is the tongue-in-cheek account of a busy week; eating, sleeping, digging holes . . . and training its new neighbors, a family of humans, to produce treats on demand. This entertaining

Overview


Wombats are cuddly-looking, slow-moving Australian animals. Their favorite activities are eating, sleeping, and digging holes. Here, in the words of one unusually articulate wombat, is the tongue-in-cheek account of a busy week; eating, sleeping, digging holes . . . and training its new neighbors, a family of humans, to produce treats on demand. This entertaining book, with its brief, humorous text and hilarious illustrations, will endear the wombat to young children, who may recognize in the determined furry creature some qualities that they share.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"hilarious yet realistic...a sumblime balance of the adorable charm of the creature, along with its drawbacks as an acquaintance." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL School Library Journal

"Whatley's acrylic vignettes...provide the perfect counterpoint to French's deadpan narration...readers...will laugh out loud at the wombat's antics." KIRKUS REVIEWS Kirkus Reviews

"tongue-in-cheek picture book...the often cuddly looking wombat may leave some readers envious of its languid lifestyle." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Publishers Weekly

"The sweet yet deadpan humor...will tickle youngsters...amusing...look at clever (and awfully cute) garden infiltrators." THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER OF CHILDREN'S BOOKS, Starred Review The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Starred

"An affectionate, believable wombat self-portrait....very accessible and funny...." THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW The New York Times Book Review

The New York Times
Together, French and Whatley have conjured an affectionate, believable wombat self-portrait. — Bryn Barnard
Publishers Weekly
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.
Children's Literature
In Diary of a Wombat, we get to tag along on the exciting life of a wombat. Fasten your seatbelts while I give you a sample-"Monday. Morning: Slept. Afternoon: Slept. Evening: Ate grass. Scratched. Night: Ate grass. Slept." These pages are accompanied by Bruce Whatley's (he did one of my favorite books, Wait, No Paint!) illustrations of an adorable little wombat munching on grass or sleeping with a blissful smile on her face. By Wednesday excitement has hit the neighborhood because humans have moved in and the wombat finds a lovely dust bath right next to their barbecue (yum, gritty kanga burgers). Life gets exciting after lunch when she discovers a "flat, hairy creature invading my territory" and has a battle with it, which she wins (it's a welcome mat) and she demands a reward from the humans and gets a carrot. In order to get more carrots later, she chews a hole in their back door. On Thursday, when she returns to the back door this is what happens-"Evening: Demanded carrots. No response. Tried yesterday's hole. Curiously resistant to my paws." and the illustration shows her little dejected wombat body sitting in front of a door with boards hammered across it. I love that language! Bruce Whatley's illustrations, with their wonderful use of white space and endearing wombat make this a book you'll want to read and look at again and again. Too bad he is Australian or this book would be my Caldecott pick for the year (the Caldecott and Newbery are only for American authors). I did test this book out with a class of first and second graders and it was a HUGE hit! Apparently the kids couldn't stop talking about it at home, since the parents kept asking me where they could findthis wonderful book (your local independent bookstore, say I). 2003, Clarion Books, Ages 4 to 7.
— Sharon Levin
School Library Journal
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.
Kirkus Reviews
A wombat, American readers will learn, is an adorable round creature that looks something like a small, pointy-eared bear and likes to sleep. It also has enormous claws, a prodigious appetite, and an unshakable determination to get what it wants. This imperturbable specimen keeps a diary that keenly describes her daily excitements: "Monday. Morning: Slept. Afternoon: Slept. Evening: Ate grass. Scratched. Night: Ate grass. Slept." When new neighbors move in and prove to be an excellent source of carrots, the diary's list expands to reveal the lengths this wombat will go ("Chewed hole in door") to ensure a steady stream of the treat. Whatley's acrylic vignettes, arranged sequentially across the spreads, are set against a generous white background and provide the perfect counterpoint to French's deadpan narration. The tortured outline of a garbage can says it all when paired with, "Banged on large metal object till carrots appeared." The level of irony involved requires sophisticated readers, but they will laugh out loud at the wombat's antics-and breathe sighs of relief that she's not their neighbor. (Picture book. 5-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547076690
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/23/2009
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
82,639
Product dimensions:
7.82(w) x 11.16(h) x 0.10(d)
Lexile:
170L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
The sweet yet deadpan humor will tickle youngsters.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

A sublime balance of the adorable charm of the creature, along with its drawbacks as an acquaintance.
School Library Journal

Meet the Author

Jackie French is a highly esteemed writer for children and adults with more than 100 books to her credit. She lives in Australia with her family and usually one or more wombats. Her web site is www.jackiefrench.com.

Bruce Whatley was born in Wales and now lives with his family in Australia. He has illustrated more than 50 children's books, some of which he also wrote. 

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Diary of a Wombat 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
valemar More than 1 year ago
I was skeptical when my husband bought this book for our 5-year old daughter. I thought it was a biological sketch for children about wombats which is not something that interests her. While it does introduce children to the animal, the introduction is secondary to the amusing week-long fictional adventure the wombat has with its new 'neighbors' - a family of people. There is a rather charming incident with the neighbor's welcome mat and also with the family's kitchen door. And the book ends with a funny twist which was cause for a good laugh. The text is brief, but comical and the illustrations are expressive without overwhelming the text. It is a nice quick read for those nights when you don't have a large amount of time to read a bedtime story but also pleasant enough that, should it become a favorite, you don't groan at having to re-read it for several nights in succession. The soft-cover price was affordable and makes this book a good buy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Dairy of a wombat" by Jackie French is a wonderful book for children. It ties fiction and nonfiction together really well for a kid's book. In the end all of your children will love wombats for their love of food, their funny relationship with the humans who move in next store, and the "friendship" the wombat has with the humans.The illustrations by Bruce Whatley are very detailed and realistic. Over all it is a fantastic book for all children. It has something in it for everyone. I hope you love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up at the library today and read it to my 6 and 9 year olds tonight. I'm now ordering our own copy because we all enjoyed it so much! The main character is instantly endearing and the book brought big smiles to all of our faces. I love books that I don't mind reading again and again, and this is definitely one of those. It's short enough to be part of the bedtime pile and adorable enough to appeal to all ages (even grown up!). Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I borrowed this book at the library as it had a wombat, which my sister got for my daughter on her trip to Australia, and carrots, something my 2 year old could relate to. Ended up, my husband and I really enjoyed the book too as we were reading it to our daughter. It's simple and puts a twist by giving us the animal's perspective of having people as pets. Who could not love carrots and wombats?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an engaging picture book that draws readers in and gives them a good laugh. Wombat characteristics are accurate (prevalence for sleeping) but as with all animal fiction, expanded upon. The combination of the text with the illustrations is bright and rhythmic. Children will enjoy reading (or having you read!) this many times over.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My almost 7 year old loves this book and loves to read it to his 3 year old sister who loves the story and illustrations equally as well!