I've known about this book for a while, and been meaning to get around to reading it, have even borrowed it from the library before, but then returned it unread- which is a bit of a shame for a picture book.... Recently I was thinking about French Children's Literature Prizes and I discovered that Wombat Goes Walkabout was a prizewinner in France. And so I had to track it down again and read it.
I've been interested in Michael Morpurgo for quite some time. He's rather extraordinary. A prolific writer. He was the third Children's Laureate in the UK. He runs a charity called Farms for City Children. He wrote what is possibly one of my favourite books ever, Private Peaceful. I have quite a number of his books sitting on the bookshelves waiting for me to glance their way.
Wombat Goes Walkabout is a simple tale, very much borne of the P.D Eastman Are You My Mother? vein. Wombat is good at digging and thinking, so he digs a big hole and goes down into it for a bit of a think. When he comes back up out of his hole he can't find his mother, so he goes in search of her. Naturally he bumps into lots of cute Australians- kookaburra, emu, possum. Christian Birmingham has done a lovely job creating an Australian feel from a palette of muted colours.
|Emus always look comical|
Wombat Goes Walkabout won the Prix Sorcieres in 1999. Which is pretty crazy when you think about it. Two Englishmen create a picture book about Australian wildlife, and it wins a prize in France. I'm a bit saddened that it took two Englishmen to write this book actually.
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