Christmas Wombat by Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Whatley, paperback picture book, published by HarperCollinsPublishers in 2011.
The wombat from Diary of a Wombat is back, and this time it is Christmas. What kind of havoc can she wreak when Santa pays a visit?
Being a wombat sounds pretty good, with all that sleeping, scratching and eating. The wombat’s quest for carrots really is comically singular! She challenges reindeer and even a polar bear to claim all the carrots she can. She has such spunk! The expressive nature of the illustrations bring her to life.
Christmas Wombat is easy to read and the illustrations are gorgeous. This is a great book for sharing with the kids around Christmas.
Christmas Wombat is suitable for toddlers through primary school children.
With Christmas only six weeks away, it was time to pull out some of our Christmas books. We have a pretty good selection of Christmas themed books and I wanted to share some of the Australian ones here.
Our absolute favourite Christmas book, What Does Santa do When it’s not Christmas? is by Australian author and illustrator Heath McKenzie. It is a perfect picture book for sharing aloud and is sure to make you laugh!
Other humourous rhyming books for an Aussie Christmas include There Was an Old Bloke who Swallowed a Present and There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Star, both by P. Crumble and Louis Shea. With hilarious illustrations and a familiar cadence, these are great for young children.
For some Christmas carols with an Aussie twist Colin Buchanan has it covered with Santa Koala (to the tune of Waltzing Matilda), Aussie Jingle Bells and The Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas. The latter also has a list of things to spot in the pictures throughout the book. Fair Dinkum Aussie Christmas is a collection of songs by Bucko & Champs which can be sung to the tunes of some traditional carols. Possibly the most popular Australian Christmas song is Six White Boomers by Rolf Harris and Bruce Whatley; it is certainly our favourite! We also like The Twelve Cats of Christmas by Kevin Whitlark. If you’re more of a dog lover, you may prefer The Twelve Dogs of Christmas!
It wouldn’t be Christmas without reading An Aussie Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve! I love the idea of Santa arriving in an old ute.
Fans of Diary of a Wombat won’t be able to pass Christmas Wombat by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley. That wombat sure does like carrots!
We have a picture book called Santa is Coming to Sydney. Santa takes the whole night to make his special deliveries to Sydney children before flying home… it’s probably nice for kids in Sydney to read about Santa coming to their city, but my kids weren’t really impressed, as it made it seem like Santa would only be visiting Sydney. I do like that Santa uses Santa-Nav to get around though.
If you’re looking for something to keep the kids entertained, you might like to try Where’s Santa? In Australia by Louis Shea. There are literally hundreds of things to spot in this Where’s Wally?-esque book. The humourous illustrations will keep the kids busy for hours!
We also enjoyed The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas by Michael Salmon (my favourite version), Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly and Robert Ingpen, and Christmas in Australia by John Williamson and Mitch Vane. We borrowed these ones from the library.
What Aussie Christmas books do you like to read with your kids?
Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Whatley, boardboard picture book, first published by HarperCollinsPublishers Australia Pty Ltd, this edition published in 2007.
This is a delightful children’s book about the life of a pet wombat. She sleeps, she eats, she digs holes, she sleeps, and she causes all sorts of destruction and mayhem, she sleeps again. Her human family continue to love her, as she digs up the flowers, chews the doormat and demands lots of carrots.
My children love this book, it is definitely a favourite. They love all the trouble that the wombat gets into, they think it is very funny! The story is written in a diary format, with short, yet descriptive entries for each part of each day. The illustrations are very distinctive, perfectly capturing the wombat’s mood. This is a wonderful book to share with preschoolers and lower primary school children, it will entertain them and it will make them laugh. You’ll probably find yourself chuckling too and wondering why you don’t have a pet wombat to liven up your days!
Pete the Sheep by Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Whatley, paperback picture book, published by HarperCollinsPublishers in 2004.
Shaun is a shearer, and Pete is his pet sheep. Pete helps Shaun in the shearing shed. The other shearers have sheepdogs to help them, but when Shaun and Pete come along, suddenly all the sheep want to see Shaun. The shearers kick Shaun and Pete out of the shearing shed. Shaun doesn’t know what to do then, as shearing is his life, but Pete has an idea to start a Sheep Salon for funky sheep-cuts.
This is a very Australian book, and we love it. The illustrations are amusing, and we love the special hair cuts the sheep get. The story is fun and different with simple language. Until I’d read this book I’d never thought about sheep (or other animals) getting such unique hair cuts. And it has a happy and inclusive ending, where everything works out just right, which is important to my kids, they like their books to end well. My preschooler particularly likes that when Pete says “Baaaaa!” he’s actually talking to the other sheep, but Shaun can understand him too. Suitable for young children such as preschoolers and lower primary school children, we like to read this book together.