Friday 20 November 2020

Creative Stars Collide to Shine on Wombat

A new children’s book hit the shelves on 1 October 2020. Combat Wombat to the Rescue is a picture book for Preschool to Primary school aged kids that fills a much-needed gap. It provides an opportunity to discuss with young children the sensitive topic of bushfire and Australia’s unique wildlife, and it’s done in an engaging and fun way. Such discussions can be challenging, but they are aptly assisted by comprehensive Teacher Notes that are available online to accompany the book.

The tale follows the journey of an unlikely hero, Combat Wombat, who saves his bush buddies from a raging bushfire, while overcoming many obstacles. But wait, it’s not what you might think - he doesn’t just lead them to the safety of his burrow as was much reported in the media recently! With his war-cry of Womba-rumbaaa, Combat Wombat is a true Wildlife Warrior of the Bush and he uses his wombat wits, strong claws and big behind to save the day.

The story was originally written six years ago by award-winning Canberra author, Dr Gina Newton, and commissioned early last year by Melbourne-based publisher, Ford Street. After the Black Summer of 2019-20, the arrival of this picture book is a timely one, particularly as it was illustrated in a time of hardship for our country. The book is dedicated to the brave firefighters who fought so tirelessly to keep us safe, to the hard-working wildlife carers, and to our wildlife who had to endure it.

Combat Wombat and his bush buddies are brilliantly brought to life by exceptionally talented local artist, Tiffanee Daley. This is Tiffanee’s first picture book and her skillful animated art style brings amazing three-dimensional and empathetic qualities to the characters and their personalities. While illustrating this book, clever Tiffanee also managed to bring her second child into the world!

Serendipity underlies the production of this beautiful book. Gina and Tiffanee met by chance at a Christmas dinner of the Canberran chapter of the Australian Society of Authors in 2018. Gina was so blown away by Tiffanee’s talent that she vowed to do a book with her one day. That opportunity came six months later, when a chance lunchtime conversation at a children’s book event led to the opportunity to send in the manuscript for Combat Wombat. But first, Tiffanee designed the character to send in with it. The creative stars aligned, and the rest is history.

The narrative of Combat Wombat to the Rescue also highlights the positive benefits of facing your fears, leadership and cooperating in a team effort – all aspects that help to build resilience in young children. As well as the important topic of the book, its vibrancy and visual appeal provide an enticing platform to enhance literacy learning for young children. Combat Wombat is a larger than life character who is sure to find his way into the hearts and minds of children and adults alike.

Further information: Contact Gina Newton 0413010753; or websites:;;

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