Reading level: Ages 3-7
Boardbook: 32 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
I only know of Jackie French through this picture book. She has written a tonne of other stuff in young adult and historical genres, but to date, this is the only book of hers I have read.
Diary of a Wombat is a tale about a little wombat whose only goal in life is to eat, sleep, dig, and sleep some more. All the while trying to train those pesky humans she lives with into better pets.
The story by its self is mostly pretty boring and pointless. But combined with the wonderful art work it takes on a whole different dimension. Bruce Whatley has done an amazing job making the little wombat come alive. He infuses so much character into the little wombat that the images almost tell the tale with out the words.
The story becomes charming and funny. There are two pages in particular that never fail to raise a chuckle. Unfortunately I believe in the American edition of this book, one of these sections has been removed.
The book has won a heap of awards. In Australia it has gotten The Children's Book Council of Australia Honour Book award, Booksellers Choice Award, and Kids Reading Oz Choice (KROC) Award.
However I think this book is best for older children. While younger kids will get a kick out of the illustrations the story doesn't interest my son while at a year old. He prefers books that rhyme and have a rhythm. I am sure though as this is such a popular book, when he is older he will get far more out of it.
The story of the real wombat (Mothball) who inspired Diary of a Wombat can be found here.