The Hairy-nosed Wombats Find a New Home by Jackie French
Published by HarperCollins Australia
Jackie French once again teams up with Sue deGennaro to tell us a tale about wonderfully whiskery wombats in her latest book, 'The Hairy Nosed Wombats Find a New Home'.
Like Jackie, I am a firm fan of wombats, however it was not until I read this delightful story that I realised the hairy noses were under threat.
To provide you with a quick glimpse of the back story (included at the back of the book ), the Northern hairy-nosed wombat is one of the world's most endangered animals - even more so than the much loved panda. Under threat from cattle and sheep, wild dogs, disease and trusty mother nature, by the 1980's there were only 35 hairy noses left in the world.
Thanks to the help of researchers, volunteers and farmers, efforts were made to ensure their home at Epping Forest in Queensland was made safe from the various threats, however a new habitat needed to be established to ensure their survival. In 2009, five northern hairy nosed wombats were moved to a new home at the Richard Underwood Nature Refuge at Yarran Downs and it is this adventure that Jackie and Sue capture so beautifully in their latest book.
The story is straight forward: in order to ensure their survival, five brave wombats leave the safety of their burrow and embark on an adventure in search of a new home. The good news is they find one. They dig deep burrows, call in the girls, make some babies and bingo; ensure the hairy noses are here to stay. For now.
Keeping things simple for the younger crowd, Jackie limits sentences to one or two per page. She outlines the threats to the wombats - be it flood or fire and also draws attention to other homely requirements, such as good green grass and deep burrows to keep them safe from the wild outdoors.
The illustrations in this book are wonderfully creative. Sticking predominantly to primary colours, Sue combines watercolour and collage, as well as her trusty box of collected wrappers, handwritten notes and ticket stubs, to create images that are both unique and memorable. It was only after reading her illustrator's note at the back that I realised she'd 'dressed' each wombat as you would a cut-out doll with paper dresses. Using coloured masking tape, graph paper and the inside of envelopes, Sue is able to bring to life the personality of each wombat. It truly is incredible - take it from me!
This picture book, created for children three years and up, is a prime example of how art can be used for a very good cause. It is of course a tale of courage and bravery, but also one of change; change that starts with us. All proceeds from the sale of this book go to the wombat foundation. So whether you choose to purchase this meaningful tale or wear a hairy nose in May - as part of the 'Wear Whiskers for Wildlife' campaign - it's time to play your small part and make a big difference to the lives of our whiskery friends.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Jackie French
Illustrator: Sue deGennaro
Title: The Hairy-nosed Wombats Find a New Home
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Published: May 2015