November/December 2022 Kids Indie Next List
“Wombat shares his underground home and his resources with those fleeing a climate disaster. A beautifully illustrated lesson for kids and their parents about kindness and surviving catastrophes with our souls and hearts intact.”
— Linda Sherman-Nurick, Cellar Door Books, Riverside, CA
A kindhearted wombat offers refuge to a parade of animal friends during an Australian bushfire in a delightful new picture book from New York Times best-selling creators Carmen Agra Deedy and Brian Lies.
Australian bushfires roar above Wombat’s home. He is fortunate that his burrow is deep below ground and he is safe. He snuggles under his crazy quilt and drinks his tea.
Then, one by one, five uniquely Australian animals – Wallaby, Kookaburra, Platypus, Koala, and Sugar Glider – seek refuge from the fires, and Wombat welcomes them all.
When you have the heart of a wombat, there’s always room for one more!
Fellowship, empathy, and adorable Australian animals star in this delightfully heartwarming and funny story about help in the time of trouble from author Carmen Agra Deedy (14 Cows for America, The Library Dragon, The Rooster Who Would Not Stay Quiet) and Caldecott Honoree Brian Lies (The Rough Patch, Bats at the Beach).
The book will delight children with Deedy’s engaging story and Lies masterfully rendered animals. It is an ideal read-aloud for adults seeking a story with humor and heart. Generosity and kindness provide powerful SEL themes. Older readers will get a glimpse of the unique environmental challenges presented by the country’s annual bushfire season.
About the Author
Carmen Agra Deedy, a New York Times best-selling author (14 Cows for America) and nationally known storyteller. Her books have received numerous awards and honors, including a Pura Belpre Honor, Christopher, Jane Addams Honor, and an E.B.White Read-Aloud Honor. Carmen has presented at many prestigious venues, but children are her favorite audience. Born in Havana, Cuba, she came to the United States as a refugee. She lives in Georgia.
Brian Lies has illustrated over thirty books, including the 2019 Caldecott Honor-winning The Rough Patch, which also won a SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and his New York Times bestselling bat series (Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library, Bats at the Ballgame, and Bats in the Band). He now lives in a seaside town in Massachusetts with his wife and two cats. His hobbies are woodworking, cooking, and tending a big vegetable garden behind the house.
"Welcome is at the heart of Carmen Agra Deedy’s story. . . . rendered in charming detail by Brian Lies.."—The New York Times
★ "The dry wit of the text is matched by art that is both detailed in illustrating each animal and hilarious in showing poor Wombat's trials. . . . A superb read-aloud balancing messages about the environment and generosity with humor and heart."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"Welcoming those in distress, be they friends or strangers, is a message that benefits all students. This title does just that with charming and humorous detail in both words and pictures."—School Library Journal
"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."—The Horn Book
"Entertaining and richly colored acrylics and colored-pencil illustrations—including a bonus cutaway displaying Wombat’s snug three-level underground abode. . . ."—Booklist
"Acrylic and colored pencil renderings by Lies (the Little Bat series) of Wombat's multilevel burrow, which include an elaborate cutaway, instantly establish it a place of safety and comfort. . . . With unspoken but unmistakable reference to the ravages of climate change, the creators underscore the idea that hospitality is not always about politesse—it can be a matter of life and death.."—Publishers Weekly