Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Diary of a Wombat

This book was a gift from Catherine, who sent it to us all the way from Australia. A book I had earlier read about, but not got my hands on. A piece of Australia, about an animal native to that continent. It was read by A with a lot of giggles.

Pic Courtesy
Written by Jackie French
Illustrated by Bruce Whatley
Published by Angus & Robertson, an imprint of HarperCollins.
Ages 4+

Mothball is a wombat. A very busy wombat. After all, she has to sleep, eat, scratch, eat grass, and most importantly-train the humans she lives with to provide enough carrots for her to crunch. For grass all the time is soooo boring! So what if there is a door which stops her from entering the house in search of carrots? The only way is to chew a hole in the door to get in!

And how tiresome that the humans board up the hole! Now what does a wombat do? Well, Mothball just proceeds to battle with everything possible till she gets her carrots. The doormat "(Discovered flat, hairy creature invading my territory. Fought major battle with flat, hairy creature.)", the dustbin, ransacking shopping bags, Until she discovers that a whole lot of lovely, sweet, crunchy carrots can be got by digging them up from the garden. Gorged on until she gets bored of them, too.

So now what? Now Mothball feels like eating rolled oats. And proceeds to train her humans to give her rolled oats. And carrots too!

Inference by a wombat? "Have decided that humans are easily trained and made quite good pets."

A lovely picture book, that was much enjoyed by the 9 yr old. Read and re-read many times over. We searched and found the real story of Mothball, the story behind Diary of a Wombat. As endearing as the book. We learned a lot about this intelligent and aggressive marsupial along the way. We also read up on and learnt more about the way evolution has brought about the unique way in which this sub-class of mammals raises its young.

There was a lot of laughter as A and I drew parallels between the way Mothball apparently trains her humans and the way children apparently train their parents to heed all their needs, all the while that parents feel that they are training their children in something that the child needs to learn. It is, after all, a two-way street, isn't it?

The book is winner of the Booksellers' Choice Award, and a Children's Book Council of Australia Honour Book. Illustrations of the activities of Mothball by Bruce Whatley are worth noting, with their photographic quality. They speak volumes, without the need for any text at many places, making this a perfect picture book for even a very young child.

The book can also be viewed online here.


artnavy said...

I recall Ferida Wolff mentioning this book as among her top picks for kids

sounds really fun

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Sandhya....the book sounds fun. I like the idea of the mothball training humans and thinking that they make good pets.

Tharini said...

oh. Sounds delectably cute!!! I searched in the lib. and also found another called 'Dairy of the baby wombat'. I now we're gonna love reading this.

utbtkids said...

"...the way Mothball apparently trains her humans and the way children apparently train their parents to heed all their needs,....."

LOL! I guess it is wombat season. We are reading WOMBAT GOES WALK ABOUT by MORPURGO.

Vibha said...

Sounds really fun book Sandhya.

sandhya said...

@Artnavy: Yes, I remember I had commented on that at her interview, as I had just received the book then.

@Rachna: I loved that perspective too. Great to have you comment here.

@Tharini: There is also a "Baby Wombat's week". The baby in question is Mothball's baby. All three are by the same author. Mothball was brought to her as a baby in an injured condition, and then famously became the protagonist of her book.

@UTBTkids: MORPURGO! I must lay my hands on this one.

@Vibha: Yes, it was really funny.

Tulika Publishers said...

Also, the author's story behind the writing of the book is quite hilarious:) Is at

sandhya said...

Thanks, Tulika books, it was great to have you comment. I have posted a link to that site with the words "found the real story of Mothball, the story behind Diary of a Wombat." It is a hilarious story, isn't it?

Meera Sriram said...

Seen the book many times, but picked it up at the library today - R and I thoroughly enjoyed it, thanks Sandhya!

Praba Ram said...

We've read Doreen Cronin's Dairy of a spider, worm, fly...The four year enjoys reading the dates found at the very top. Interesting that there's also a Dairy of a Wombat. Funny and educational material these books offer. I will look out for this one, S. Thanks!

ranjani.sathish said...

Picked it from the lib and the younger one loves it a lot ! We have read it 2-3 times now. Thanks for this review Sandhya.

sandhya said...

Thanks, Meera, Prabha, Ranjani.
@UTBT: We have since picked up 'Wombat goes walkabout' and enjoyed it. Have lent it to Art and Choxbox as well. Thanks for pointing it out.

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