'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 15 November 2020

Review: The Fire Wombat

The Fire Wombat is a special story.

Jackie French wrote about this wombat after her own experience and observations of the 2020 bushfires. 

It's imbued with a strong sense of her love for land and animals.

The story begins as the dry, brown countryside is being enveloped by summer heat and smoke.

A small wombat sees and smells the change. The other animals do, too.

All seek safety. The only safe place is underground, and it's a place that the wombat knows well.

Her tunnels are long and cool, and all the animals follow wombat beneath the ground. She shares her home with them.

Australian Children's Laureate, Jackie French writes descriptively of the bushfire and the animals' response to it. 

Her words, which are like classic bush poetry, empathetically express the sights, sounds, and smells of the bushfires and their aftermath. 

This is the animal's perspective, and a kind of homage to the wombat whose determination inspired the author, but it's also a human perspective, as both the animals and people begin to see things come to life again.

The Fire Wombat may tell of the devastation of bushfires, but more than that, it's a story about survival and helping each other, and the hope, renewal and growth that follows. And the eventual rain.

Danny Snell's beautiful illustrations don't shy from the reality, but they also bring a sense of calm and camaraderie to the situation. They will appeal to children and adults alike.

For children who may be anxious about bushfires, reading this story is an excellent way to explain, or prompt discussion.

The Fire Wombat is an uplifting story highly recommended for families everywhere.

Visit the HarperCollins website to download a teaching guide with ideas and activities for before, during and after reading.

Note: Some of the proceeds of the sales of The Fire Wombat go to support The Wombat Protection Society.

Title:The Fire Wombat
Author: Jackie French
Illustrator: Danny Snell
Publisher: HarperCollins, $ 19.99
Publication Date: November 2020
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781460759332
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book