How to Scratch a Wombat: Where to Find It… What to Feed It… Why It Sleeps All Day

Jackie French, Author, Bruce Whatley, Illustrator , illus. by Bruce Whatley. Clarion $16 (85p) ISBN 978-0-618-86864-3

A nonfiction companion to French and Whatley's more whimsical picture book Diary of Wombat , this book will spread the Australian author's affection for the marsupial critters that populate her backyard and the nearby bush. Between detailed notes about wombat anatomy, behavior and habitat, French weaves in personal anecdotes from her 30-plus years of observing local wombats and caring for orphaned baby wombats (“cuddly, furry creatures that wreck your kitchen and take over your life”). Readers will learn not only about a wombat's teeth but also how one Rikki the Wrestler sank his pearly whites into the author's wrist, thinking it was a game. From the outset, French uses a friendly tone, discussing how wombats have influenced her writing career. Whatley's spot maps, diagrams and realistic b&w pencil sketches further amplify key points. A nifty blend of field notebook and memoir, this volume enlightens readers about the observed species and the human doing the observing. Ages 6–10. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/12/2009
Release date: 02/01/2009
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