Saturday 29 May 2021


Wombat by Christopher Cheng, illustrated by Liz Duthie (Walker Books) HB RRP $26.99 ISBN 9781760651374

Reviewed by Nikki M Heath 

Follow a wombat’s day as she goes from breaking her fast to dealing with inconsiderate neighbours, from luxuriating in the sun to evading violent threats, before retreating to the safety of the burrow, all with her joey on board. Get to know the individual wombat, but also discover a wide range of wombat-related information. 

The wombat protagonist may not have a name, but that doesn’t hinder the reader’s emotional connection, as we are plunged into her sensory world through the evocative text. We feel the frustrations, challenges, and satisfaction of her day-to-day life.

It’s always satisfying to see an index in a picture book, emphasizing the non-fiction content accompanying the story. The interesting facts about wombats are distinguished from the fictional narrative using a different font. The dual-text approach means the book is suitable to read to pre-schoolers while giving school-aged children a bit more to dig into. 

The illustrations are earth-toned and richly textured: it feels like you could reach out and sink your hand into the wombat’s fur. Despite the tiny eyes of the subject, great depth of character is achieved. 

This book is a lovely contribution to the growing collection of nature picture books giving readers both a narrative to connect with and facts to learn. Children 4 years and older will get a lot out of this book.

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