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Wombat Goes Walkabout Paperback – August 7, 2000


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Paperback, August 7, 2000
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books (August 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007708041
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007708048
  • ASIN: 0006646271
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,562,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Pencil sketches and naturalistic color art transport readers to the Australian outback in this affecting tale of a wombat who has lost his mother. As he searches for her, he encounters a variety of other creatures, from a kookaburra to a boy. Each asks, "What can you do, Wombat?" His neighbors dismiss his answer ("Not much. I dig a lot and I think a lot") and show off their own skills. But it's Wombat who saves the day when a forest fire threatensDhe digs a hole large enough to shelter them all. In return, his new friends help him find his mother. Morpurgo (previously paired with Birmingham for The Wreck of the Zanzibar) bolsters his story with pleasing repetitions, and his message about the importance of valuing the contributions of each individual in a community comes through clearly but gently. Birmingham's artwork is no less than sublime. Nimbly sketched animal studies adorn the margins of the pages containing text, and alternate with full-page vistas of the bush and its creatures, their softly smudged outlines gilded with light. Avoiding anthropomorphism, Birmingham nevertheless presents the wombat as an altogether winning creature, small and sturdy and determined. Oversize in format (9"x121/2") and suffused with warmth, this picture book opens a window on wildlife Down Under. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2-A picture book that misses the mark. A young wombat searching for his mother in the Australian outback meets a variety of indigenous animals, including a kookaburra, a wallaby, an emu, and a koala. Each creature shows off its unusual abilities, making Wombat feel inadequate since all he can do is dig. However, it is this very skill that rescues all of the animals when fire threatens their habitat. In a happy ending, Wombat and his mother are reunited. The text is repetitive; the dialogue is pretty much the same between Wombat and every animal he encounters. This simplicity works in picture books for very young children, e.g., Bill Martin's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Holt, 1995) and Deborah Guarino's Is Your Mama a Llama (Scholastic, 1989), but this book seems to be aiming for a more sophisticated audience, given its length. The sameness of the text becomes boring and rigid. Birmingham's illustrations are painterly and very moody, and beautiful enough to be framed. However, their sophistication seems overly ambitious for the text.
Barbara Buckley, Rockville Centre Public Library, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Michael Morpurgo is one of Britain's best-loved children's book writers. He has written more than 100 books and has won the Smarties Prize, the Whitbread Award, and most recently the Blue Peter Book Award for PRIVATE PEACEFUL. He is also the author of WAR HORSE, which has been made into a Tony Award-winning Broadway play and a Golden Globe-nominated film. Michael was Writer in Residence at The Savoy Hotel from January to March 2007, and previously he was Children's Laureate from 2003-2005, a role that took him across Britain to inspire a love of reading in children. You can visit him online at www.michaelmorpurgo.com.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Reynolds on April 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a sweet and simple story of a young Wombat searching for his mother. I read this book to my 5 and 7 year old girls. They enjoyed learning about the different Australian animals Wombat meets on his journey. The beautiful illustrations of Australian animals and the outback seem illuminated by a dusk glow of the sun - they make this book a treasure. They were intriguing to my girls. They made the world of the Australian outback seem lifelike and exciting. What a fun way for children to learn a little more about another part of the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ulyyf on July 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Mostly, it must be admitted, because the boy in it looks a lot like her bestest friend ever.

This is a simply written (if slightly long) book about a wombat whose only skill, it seems, is to dig and think. Everybody he encounters laughs at how little he can do, showing off *their* skills.

But when a fire comes and he digs and digs and digs a hole, he invites them all to share his hole, because he's been thinking and he *thinks* that they can't outrun the fire with their abilities, but he can hide them from it. (And he's right.)

The book is beautifully illustrated, and neatly written as well.

This edition does have "Mom" at the end instead of "Mum". I think most of us, if this is a concern, can simply read the Other Word instead when reading to our kids, right?

One problem I do have with this book is that it's oversized, and too large to fit on my bookshelves.
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By mean bean on January 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I discovered this book when I was visiting Australia and loved it. I bought a copy while there and have since bought two more to give away. My husband, he's a musician, and I even wrote a song that is loosely based on the book and the story of the wombat. My nephew, three years old at the time, loved (and still loves) the book (and the song!). The story is simple and engaging and the illustrations are very nice. I kept a copy for myself.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a school librarian, and all elementary students love this book. It is a terrific story on its own, but also has good lessons about respecting one's differences, and how everyone has something they are good at, and it is all important. I purchased stuffed animals of all the characters to show when reading the story and they are always a hit. It is also a good teaching book about animals in Australia. A wonderfully illustrated good story.
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2 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Natalie J Elliott on August 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is beautifully illustrated, however it is RUINED by the fact that the wombat at the end calls his Mum "Mom" (it would get 5 stars otherwise, the Wombat is my favourite "native"). If you're going to write a book on an Australian native mammal, at least give it a sense of authenticity and an Australian "accent". I picked it up at a local bookshop and almost flung it out of my hands when I saw that.
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