cover image Wombat Said Come In

Wombat Said Come In

Carmen Agra Deedy, illus. by Brian Lies. Peachtree/Quinlin, $18.99 (36p) ISBN 978-1-6826-3321-2

Fire is raging outside his burrow, but Wombat “was not worried.” Acrylic and colored pencil renderings by Lies (the Little Bat series) of Wombat’s multilevel burrow, which include an elaborate cutaway, instantly establish it a place of safety and comfort. Wombat generously offers this home to five frightened animals who appear at his door in turn, each greeted by Agra Deedy’s (Rita and Ralph’s Rotten Day) refrain: “Wombat said, ‘Come in!’/ Wombat said, ‘Come in!/ From smoke and din/ and howling wind,/ come in, my friend, come in!’ ” Wallaby immediately commandeers Wombat’s beloved quilt, Kookaburra snags the host’s favorite chair, and the house is in short order a mess. The danger finally passes, and stretched-to-the-limit Wombat (the only clothes-wearing animal), announces that his guests must “Skedaddle! Shoo! Go home!” But when pocket-size Sugar Glider reveals having nowhere to go—a moment of pause in the otherwise rollicking telling—Wombat changes the critter’s status to full-time roommate. With unspoken but unmistakable reference to the ravages of climate change, the creators underscore the idea that hospitality is not always about politesse—it can be a matter of life and death. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Book Group. Illustrator’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. (Oct.)