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Diary of a Wombat (Ala Notable Children's Books. Younger Readers (Awards)) Hardcover – August 18, 2003

4.9 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From 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, Ages 4-7. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 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, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 170L (What's this?)
  • Series: Ala Notable Children's Books. Younger Readers (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; American ed edition (August 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618381368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618381364
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 11.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Shelley Gammon TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an extremely short and easy read, but what a hoot. The illustrations are to die for. The artist really nailed it with the Wombat illustrations, and while wombats are adorable without the help of people, the illustrations really bring out the personality of this Australian native.
Behaving much like a spoiled dog, Wombat gets in all sorts of messes trying to get his new human neighbors to accommodate him. In a very subtle way, the book indicates that these are wild animals - no one pets the wombat... but food magically appears for him.
I literally laughed out loud while reading by myself. You could almost just reach right in the book and pinch the cheeks on that little fur ball.
Children (and adults) will love looking at the illustrations of the contented, sleeping wombat, as well as those that depict him as sometimes curious and innocently mischievious.
This is also a great way to introduce an animal that a lot of kids may never see (unless they live Down Under) in a zoo or even on TV, and a good way to open a discussion on how animals (wild animals, and even household pets) have their own unique personalities and different behaviors than people.
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Format: Hardcover
Until I read this book I had never seen a dedication in a picture book in which the illustrator thanked the author. Yet lo and behold, at the beginning of "Diary of a Wombat" read the words, "Thanks for letting me play, Jackie. This was fun", signed by illustrator Bruce Whatley. He's not wrong either. The book is a heaping helpful of fun, starring a cuddly adorable little wombat and her low key adventures. Having been published at the same time as the similarly titled (and, in my humble opinion, less impressive) book, "Diary of a Worm", "Diary of a Wombat" never really received the praise and adoration it so rightly deserved. To me, this book is the perfect balance of cute and sly (a difficult mixture indeed).

We follow our heroine, a rolly-polly little unnamed wombat as she goes about her days. For a wombat, life doesn't consist of much more than sleeping, munching on some grass, and sleeping again. The first few days we spend with the wombat proceed at about this pace. All that changes when the wombat acquires some new human neighbors. A family of wide-eyed Australians first meet the little creature when she decided to use their picnic area as her own personal dustbath. Please note the shocked lovebirds perched on a nearby birdbath. As the days go by the wombat slowly but surely teaches her humans to feed her carrots as well as oats. By the end, she comes to the undeniable conclusion that, "humans are easily trained and make quite good pets".

I can't imagine a single objection that could be successfully lobbied against this tale. Let us consider, first of all, the wombat herself. Think of a teddy bear with a slightly larger nose and I think you'll have a rough idea of what I'm describing here. The wombat is incapable, it seems, of anger or malicious intent.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for a friend's son. He's seven, and reads at a higher level than is normal for his age, so this book didn't pose much of a literary challenge for him. He totally loved the book! At last count, he'd read it six times aloud, to everyone. (I don't know if they're contemplating sending it back. ;))

It's a really adorable book, and Bruce Whatley's drawings really bring Mothball (the wombat) to life, with her little rolled up tummy rats when she curls up and her little wombat eyes.

This book is sure to bring a smile to any reader's face.
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Format: Hardcover
I first saw this book in a small bookstore. Since it was short I asked my 12 year old to read it to my 6 year old. Before we knew it we were surrounded by both kids and adults listening to this adorable tale of a wombat's daily life. Quite a few copies were sold due to that reading! I have even requested that my local library buy it. (They have) The story is droll, the pictures are adorable. Well worth the price!
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Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book in a bookstore and read it aloud to my wife. We were both laughing so hard that others were giving us funny looks. This is a wonderful book about a self absorbed wombat that discovers his new human neighbors. If Seinfeld were a wombat, this book would be the screenplay for one of his shows. The author has a talent for turning the mundane into the hilarious.

The writing will leave you in stitches because the illustrations capture the mood of the little creature with absolute perfection. Written from the perspective of the wombat, the destruction it leaves in its wake is really just routine behavior designed to get some carrots, or oats, or whatever else strikes its fancy. The illustrations are excellent throughout the book, and jump off every page, as are the depictions of the various situations the wombat finds itself in.

One of the best children's books I have read in a long time. This book is one of those classic stories that adults will love even more than the kids do. We plan to leave it out for the holidays for guests to read, if we can keep it away from our kids. I highly recommend this funny and sweet story to everyone.
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