‘Mothball’ turns twenty! ‘Diary of a Rescued Wombat’ by Jackie French & Bruce Whatley
November 30, 2022
Australian children born in the past twenty years (and their parents) will be very familiar with the series of Wombat books, written by Jackie French and beautifully illustrated by Bruce Whately.
They are all about the simple life and loves of Mothball; a round, cuddly wombat who loves sleeping, digging, eating grass and carrots (not necessarily in that order.)
These hugely popular picture books introduce youngsters to one of Australia’s most loved marsupials. The text and story lines invite recognition, while the illustrations evoke an emotional response despite the books’ apparent simplicity.
The latest book tells the story of how Mothball first came into Jackie French’s life (and books.) She was a ‘rescued’ wombat, one of many native animals given a second chance at life after a disaster kills the parent. Sometimes that is bushfire, frequently it is roadkill. Many Australians volunteer with WIRES or other animal rescue services to raise and nurture orphaned young until they are independent. Here’s a short video from the ABC, showing volunteers doing their thing.
So, Mothball was a rescue wombat before she became a literary star!
Fans of the Wombat series will love hearing Mothball’s ‘back story’; the book is also a perfect way to introduce her to new readers. It is, as well, a beautiful tribute to those many volunteers who give so much to preserve Australia’s unique fauna.
Diary of a Rescued Wombat: The Untold Story is published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in November 2022. My thanks to the publishers for a review copy.