Friday, May 05, 2006

Bruce Whatley

I am a huge fan of the down under author/illustrator Bruce Whatley who has written and illustrated my all time favourite dog book, That Magnetic Dog, among others. This time he teams up with the award-winning fellow Ausie, Jackie French in Diary of a Wombat. This book is hilarious, and appeals to adults as much as it appeals to kids. Diary of a Wombat is a journal of sorts. Nothing deep and dark in this daily record though. Here's a sample

Tuesday. Morning: slept./Afternoon: Slept./Evening: Ate grass./
Night: Decided grass is boring.Scratched. Hard to reach itchy bits./ Slept.

By Wednesday though, the endearing wombat has discovered the perfect place for a dustbath. The fact that the location of the dustbath is a family BBQ is the source of the humour in this scene. But it doesn't stop here. The family's uninvited guest decides to move in after a hilarious battle with a hairy creature (which turns out to be the welcome mat). Our wombat settles into the garden and demands carrots. The current residents are less than enthusiastic, but the wombat 'wins them over' by chewing a hole in their door and later, bashing in the trash can. Again, understated text is superbly complimented by illustrations that hint at far more than they reveal. The family continue with their efforts to great rid of their uninvited guest to no avail and by week's end, our wombat's diary concludes that "humans are easily trained." I've said it several times already, but hilarious is absolutely the best word to describe this this life in the week of...

And don't be put off by the fact that wombats may not be famililar territory to many children in this hemisphere. One read of Diary of a Wombat will make them have them asking for more. Author Jackie French provides a just a nibble of information about the furry creatures at the end of her delightful story, but kids will definately want more.

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