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.
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.
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.
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