Christmas Wombat

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Scratching and digging may be unacceptable in human circles, but wombats don’t live by the same creed. That’s why the delightful little wombat in author Jackie French’s latest picture book, Christmas Wombat, feels no shame as she scratches, digs, eats, and sleeps to her heart’s content.

In the book, the wombat lives a mundane life until a certain festive season rolls around. Suddenly, red and yellow “dangly things” (Christmas ornaments) bump her nose as she tries to enjoy a nice grassy snack. Then she is forced to show several antlered creatures hooked to a sleigh who is boss when she catches them munching on a dish of carrots she’s sure belong to her.

Of course, the dish is sitting right next to a sign that says, “For Santa and the Reindeer,” but the wombat cannot read, so she misses this little tidbit.

After she defeats the reindeer, the little wombat is so sleepy, she snuggles up in the curved front bumper of the pretty sleigh and ends up taking a ride with Santa himself. Thus begins a wonderful journey in which the wombat learns that the earth is a big, big place, carrots can be found almost anywhere, and reindeer aren’t so bad after all.

This is a Christmas book with a twist to delight audiences young and old. Ms. French writes in short, clear sentences that are perfect for younger children, but with extra help from artist Bruce Whatley’s hilarious illustrations, the universal humor in this story still manages to shine through.

One quibble is that those who have not read the prequel to this book (Diary of a Baby Wombat) may be slightly challenged understanding the wombat, its uneventful life, and its obsession with carrots. That aside, this book should do well in elementary school libraries as supplemental reading, in the science classroom as a nature book for wildlife lovers, and in the home as a welcome addition to any child’s personal library.

Happy Holidays,

Rita Lorraine

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I am a former special education teacher, and am currently a full-time children's writer, book blogger and freelance editor. I earned the 2014 SCBWI Letter of Merit for an unpublished multicultural novel; I am Lee and Low Publishers 2012 New Voices Award Winner. I am the author of Getting a Job in the Food Industry, Getting the Most Out of MOOCs, and The Right Health Care Degree for Me, all published by Rosen Publishing, and Playwriting, published by Cavendish Square in January, 2017. My first picture book, Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story (Lee and Low) will debut in 2018. My second picture book, The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read (Random House) will debut in 2019. I penned African Americans of Chattanooga: A History of Unsung Heroes, and I review books for The New York Journal of Books. Thanks for visiting!

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