Review of Wombat Said Come In

Wombat Said Come In Wombat Said Come In
by Carmen Agra Deedy ; illus. by Brian Lies
Preschool, Primary     Quinlin/Peachtree    40 pp.     g
10/22     978-1-68263-321-2     $18.99

As fire spreads above his burrow, a wombat opens his underground home to a series of Australian animals, including a wallaby, kookaburra, and platypus. Each visitor makes itself comfortable immediately and, with Wombat’s care and attention, gets what it needs. ­Kookaburra commandeered Wombat’s favorite chair”; “Platypus padded away in Wombat’s favorite slippers.” ­Wombat’s life is transformed for several days, and his once-peaceful home is especially disrupted by the antics of Sugar Glider. When the danger has passed and most of the animals head back to their ­dwellings, Wombat ­generously invites Sugar Glider, who has no home to go back to, to stay. Deedy’s ( Rita & Ralph’s Rotten Day , rev. 5/20) effective use of repetition in structure and language (“Wombat said, ‘Come in!’ / Wombat said, ‘Come in! / From smoke and wind and howling din’”) reads like an ­Australian cousin to Brett’s The ­Mitten . Lies’s ( Bats at the Beach et al; The Rough Patch ) richly colored ­illustrations, featuring expressive ­anthropomorphized animals, ­display both the comfort and chaos of ­Wombat’s home. He changes perspective from page to page so ­viewers are sometimes up close, sometimes peering down from above; the shifts successfully create the sense of ­disarray in Wombat’s space. Educators will find multiple curricular connections for this tale of hospitality, climate, and ­displacement, but young readers will likely be most attracted to the humor in text and art and the personalities of the animal neighbors.

From the September/October 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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