The Christmas Wombat by Jackie French, illustrated by Bruce Whatley
The original Diary of a Wombat returns in all of his carrot-munching glory with a Christmas title. The book starts in a familiar way with a day spent sleeping, scratching, sleeping again, and eating. But then, a Christmas ornament bops him on the nose. The wombat gets rid of them. Then the wombat meets Santa’s reindeer who also like carrots. They fight a great battle and the wombat wins and after munching more carrots, curls up on the back of Santa’s sleigh. The wombat meets Santa, discovers snowmen with carrot noses, and continues to eat carrots across the world. The book ends with the same simplicity as the beginning, and with a well-deserved nap.
French has an exquisite sense of timing in her text. When I read the first book to my son, it quickly became one of his all-time favorites. Finding a Christmas book with that same feel and humor to it was a highlight of our holiday season so far. I enjoy reading the books with an Australian accent, since that’s how a wombat would talk, right? And they are a delight to share aloud. The timing of the humor is naturally conveyed in the writing.
Whatley’s illustrations are great. They show the pride of the wombat, his unwavering courage even when facing much larger animals, and plenty of humor themselves. With their larger format and white backgrounds, this picture book can merrily be shared with groups of children.
A great pick for a twist on the regular holiday picture books, this one may call for carrots to be shared afterwards. Carrots… Carrots… Carrots… Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.