Monday 6 August 2012

Wombat Goes Walkabout

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.

An Illustrated Year is hosted by An Abundance of Books.


MedicatedMoo said...

I'm a bit saddened that I've never heard of the book....! I love the drawing of the wombat under the emu!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This looks awfully cute. I am also participating in the Illustrated Year challenge -- very fun.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

What a neat connection you have made: two Englishmen, book about Australian wildlife, prize in France.

I can understand it winning the prize... emus (or is it emues?) are indeed comical and adorable


Brona said...

I also feel saddened as I have never seen this book before either. I have loved reading Are You My Mother to my preschool classes over the years, and it sounds like this would have been a great addition to the 'lost' genre.

Sim Carter said...

It's not an illustrated book (as far as I know) but if you're talking about Michael Morpurgo then War Horse has to be part of that conversation. Amazing what has been made of that story originally written for younger readers. Spielberg's movie and of course, the play. Have a good week Louise.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I wonder if this book is widely available here. I must go now and add it to my wishlist for my school library. I should plan to do something Australian for the children at my school this year....