Our book today is Jackie French’s 2002 classic kids book Diary of a Wombat, with utterly charming illustrations by Bruce Whatley.
The book tells the story of a fat little wombat somewhere in Australia who’s grown a bit bored with the life she records in her diary. A typical entry runs like this:

Monday

Morning: Slept.

Afternoon: Slept.

Evening: Ate grass. Scratched.

Night: Ate grass.

One day, she discovers he has new neighbors: humans! This delights her as a prospect for change, although there’s an obstacle in the way – the welcome mat:

Discovered flat, hairy creature invading my territory.

Fought major battle with flat, hairy creature.

Won battle. Neighbors should be pleased. Demanded a reward.

The reward in question is carrots, and the little wombat quickly comes to prefer them to boring old grass. She grows demanding, and soon her tastes have broadened to include oats as well. The long-suffering human family is not consulted in any of this; our wombat feels a serene self-confidence.

Eventually, she makes a comfortable hole for herself directly under the home of her new neighbors, so she’ll never be far away from carrots or oats.

We’ll just have to hope the whole thing isn’t an extended parable about the irritation of guests who overstay their welcome. I’m hoping instead it’s about the pleasures of serendipity. Otherwise, things could get pretty uncomfortable for the wombat in question.

  • anna

    I don’t think it is about bad houseguests… after alll, if you look carefully, the wombat was there before the people moved in. Perhaps it is a parable about joining a demanding homeowner’s association.

© 2007-2017, Steve Donoghue