Wombat Said Come In


Wombat’s accustomed to the fire and smoke above his burrow. It seems he does not panic. Instead, he retreats beneath his crazy quilt ‘until it passes‘. However, what if others, above ground are in need?

While Wallaby is terrified and seeks somewhere to hide, Kookaburra seeks comfort and tea. Then again, Platypus needs Wombat’s handkerchiefs to clean away the smoke and soot, and then makes off with his slippers. Will Wombat ever get to make the tea, and thereafter take a cup himself?

What about a desperate visitor who insists upon bringing his eucalyptus tree, ahead of an hysterical sugar glider? How will Wombat cope? Is it possible that at every point, Wombat will insist ‘Come in!/ From smoke and din/ and howling wind,/ come in, my friend, come in!’ 

Wombat Said Come In is rich, warm, beautiful and welcoming. The setting and backstory of the Australian forest fires is depicted with such empathy and tenderness, while Wombat’s actions and reactions are beautiful. Bookwagon loves and recommends this wonderful picture book for reading aloud, knowing well, sharing and treasuring.

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Wombat Said Come In

Carmen Agra Deedy and Brian Lies

(Welbeck Flame)

Fire had passed over Wombat’s burrow before. Therefore, he’s not worried, ‘not one bit‘. In fact, he considers the best option is ‘to shelter under [his] crazy quilt until the problem passes’. However, it seems that trouble has a way of coming knocking.
In fact, at first, it’s Wallaby. It seems Wallaby cannot reach his home. Therefore, Wombat’s welcome is warm. ‘Come in!/ Come in!/ From smoke and din/ and howling wind,/ come in, my friend, come in!’  It’s not long until Wallaby’s safe beneath his ‘crazy quilt’ leaving Wombat’s ‘favourite chair’ for him, insteadThen again, what about Kookaburra? It seems he’s after ‘a room’ as the fire’s ‘on the march‘. What’s more, once welcomed indoors, Kookaburra settles into Wombat’s chair and asks for tea.
However, Platypus interrupts Wombat’s ministrations. He shares a handkerchief to clear away the soot and smoke, while Platypus takes off with his slippers. Then again, what of Koala and Sugar Glider? Furthermore, what about Wombat’s own hopes of tea and space? Will he have his home returned? His comforts?
Carmen Agra Deedy’s story, ripe with repetition, prediction opportunity, empathy and meaning, is beautiful. Then again, award winning illustrator Brian Lies crafts pictures of such meaning, movement and warmth. They are depth and style reminds me of the work of P.J. Lynch, whom we know from The Haunted Lake. Bookwagon loves and recommends this beautiful picture book of welcome, friendship and understanding. We consider it a perfect story to read aloud, know well, share and treasure.


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