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Wombat Walkabout

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Early one morning when the sun came out, Six woolly wombats went walkabout.

This whimsical counting poem follows six brave little wombats on walkabout in the Australian outback. But the wilderness is bound to bring more excitement than an innocent counting game. Soon enough, the curious wombats learn to beware the hungry dingo! Aussie native Sophie Blackall's delicious illustrations set adorable wombats in a lush world of golden wattles, billabongs, kookaburras, and gum nuts. ...

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Early one morning when the sun came out, Six woolly wombats went walkabout.

This whimsical counting poem follows six brave little wombats on walkabout in the Australian outback. But the wilderness is bound to bring more excitement than an innocent counting game. Soon enough, the curious wombats learn to beware the hungry dingo! Aussie native Sophie Blackall's delicious illustrations set adorable wombats in a lush world of golden wattles, billabongs, kookaburras, and gum nuts. With marvelous wordplay and irresistible read-aloud phrases, this ingenious text is sure to become a well-worn favorite. Accompanied by a short, simple glossary of Australian terms and wildlife.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A read-aloud with an Aussie accent, this bouncy rhyming tale of wandering wombats delivers age-appropriate suspense as well as a countdown. Six roly-poly brown wombats stroll, single file, in a dusty desert: "They didn't see the dingo with the hungry eye,/ 'I've a hunch my lunch just walked on by!'A " One by one, the wombats bringing up the rear stop "to pick a gum nut" or listen to a kookaburra bird, and the party diminishes ("and then there were five"). Shields (Lunch Money) does not reveal their fate, and readers will suspect the worst. In sandy watercolor hues, Blackall (Meet Wild Boars) individuates the plump, bearish wombats via accessories, like a paper hat or string of beads, while the swaggering dingo favors a pipe. She lets the foxy-orange dingo's pointy ears or long, sinister nose protrude from behind gray rocks and twisted trees; kids will enjoy hunting the villain in her offbeat, detailed spreads.A glossary demystifies the lingo from Oz. Ages 3-5. (Mar.)

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School Library Journal

K-Gr 2

This fun glimpse of the Australian outback is written in a rhyming text that's a joy to read aloud. Six woolly wombats go on a walkabout, and the dingo that spots them is sure that he's just discovered his lunch. One by one, a wombat strays from the others until only Jen and Jack are left. Hiding by the trail, they spy the dingo with a large sack that's jumping about. Immediately they make a pit trap and lure the unsuspecting dingo into it. Four thankful wombats escape and six happy wombats walk back home two by two for tea. The meanings of the Aussie words are easily understood from the context, but the short glossary found before the story is still nice to have. The illustrations, which are bathed in pale browns, yellows, oranges, and blues, are an excellent complement to the text. Blackall uses a "less is more" approach to the art that successfully allows readers to focus on the animals, their expressions, and the flora around them. Since the wombats tend to look alike, the artist has adorned each of them with one accessory to give them individuality. This delightful story with its themes of friendship and nature could be perfectly paired with Jackie French's Diary of a Wombat (Clarion, 2003) and Mem Fox's Koala Lou (Harcourt, 1989) for an Australian-themed storytime.-Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH

Kirkus Reviews
A glossary of Australian words used in this story about six wombats who outwit "a dingo with the hungry eye" while on their walkabout through the bush launches readers into this gentle trickster tale. The rhyming text never feels forced, as one by one the dingo traps the first four wombats when they become distracted by various bush attractions-"a golden wattle blooming," "a bridge by a billabong" and so on. When the final two wombats discover their brethren are missing and then see the sly dingo approaching with a bulging sack, they concoct a plan to defeat him and free the others. Successful, the six reunited wombats conclude their walkabout with a spot of tea at home. Beginning with the wraparound jacket art showing the wombats marching toward the book's opening, Blackall's uncluttered, downright adorable watercolors differentiate the wombats with such distinctive items as a party hat, a red ribbon and polka-dotted shorts. These items are highlighted on the glossary page, orienting readers not only to the verbal, but the visual world of this satisfying story. (Picture book. 3-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525478652
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/19/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 316,102
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.30 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Shields

Carol Shields (1935-2003) is the author of The Stone Diaries, which won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Canada's Governor General's Award. Her other novels and short-story collections include The Republic of Love, Happenstance, Swann, The Orange Fish, Various Miracles, The Box Garden, and Small Ceremonies (all available from Penguin).


Carol Shields's characters are often on the road less traveled, and the trip is never boring. She has written about a folklorist, a poet, a maze designer, a translator, even other writers -- appropriate professions in novels in which characters struggle to find their own paths in life.

Shields often focused on female characters, most notably in The Stone Diaries, her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel documenting the birth, death, and everything in between of Daisy Goodwill. Goodwill's story is told over a century, in various voices, featuring Shields's wry humor and her ability to convey what she has called "the arc of human life."

But don't pigeonhole Shields as a "women's writer." "I have directed a fair amount of energy and rather a lot of rage into that particular corner [of the] problem of men and women, particularly men and women who write and how women's novels are perceived differently from men's," Shields said in a 2001 interview. In 1997's Larry's Party, she swapped genders, writing from the perspective of a male floral designer who discovers a passion for mazes.

Unafraid to experiment with genres, Shields wrote an epistolary novel (A Celibate Season, coauthored with Blanche Howard), a sort of "literary mystery" about the posthumous discovery of a murdered poet's genius (Swann), and short stories (collected in Dressing for the Carnival and other titles). Though she often covered serious topics, she rarely did so without humor. Her novel of mid-life romance, Republic of Love, was called by The New York Times a "touching, elegantly funny, luscious work of fiction," an assessment that could be applied to the bulk of her work.

Shields changed her viewpoint yet again for Unless, but the circumstance was a tragic one. The book, which resurrects the main character from Dressing Up for the Carnival's "A Scarf," was written during the author's battle with breast cancer. "I never want to sound at all mystical about writing,'' she said in a 2002 interview, ''but this book -- it just came out." Though not touching on her own illness, Shields did what she had always done -- took her own questions and lessons, then used them to produce a story that speaks its own truth.

Shields passed away on July 16, 2003; she was 68.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Carol Ann Warner
    2. Hometown:
      Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 2, 1935
    2. Place of Birth:
      Oak Park, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      July 16, 2003
    2. Place of Death:
      Toronto, Canada

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    My daughter loves it!

    Very nicely illustrated and a story that my daughter wants to read "again" and again! She loves counting up who is left and then the surprise of where did the wombats go! and out they come!

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