Warning: This book about wandering wombats on a walkabout under wattles is wondrously, well, “CUTE” was the word I was looking for but couldn’t find a w-beginning word to use in its place! Well, thus are exposed my limits on off-the-cuff alliterating. Nontheless, Wombat Walkabout by Carol Diggory Shields, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Dutton, 2009), is a terrifically cute and funny book about six wandering wombats named Clive, Lee, Jack, Jen, Theodore and Pru on an extended walk through the outback. Of course, there is a somewhat threatening Dingo looming on the edges similar to the Fox of Chicken Little fame, but of course, he gets his just desserts wombat-digging style.
My daughter selected this book and enjoyed reading it aloud to me. It’s a numbers primer using the old convention of …and then there were ‘four’ … kind of phrasing and rhyming but it was delightfully done. Illustrator Blackall’s wombats were a whimsy of furry rotundness wearing beads and polka-dotted underwear. Along with the wombat walkabout story, the authors have provided a glossary of Australian words for readers to get a sense of the language. “Wombat”, “kookaburra” and “billabong” were among my favorite words.