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Renee Treml (2012): One very tired wombat.

Renee Treml (2012)

One very tired wombat

North Sydney: Random House Australia

This early years counting book, featuring one very tired wombat and a menagerie of very cheeky Australian birds, does well to present a direct relationship between pictures, words and numbers in a delightfully Australian way. This direct relationship of text and pictures encourages the young reader, or listener, to participate actively in the book by counting the growing number of native birds who arrive in larger and larger numbers.

Beginning with one very tired wombat, Treml's narrative cleverly introduces a growing numbers of curlews, frogmouths, penguins and galahs (to name a few) to interact, or not, with the central character. All are carefully selected for their curiosity, stealth and sound which is explored in further detail at the end of the book.

The nocturnal wombat doesn't seem too bothered by the early arrivals but as more and more cheeky feathered friends arrive, the tired wombat slowly finds it more difficult to get some much needed sleep. Indeed the growing number of birds seem to be having a jolly old time gathering around sharing tweets and chatter.

Finally, like the straw that breaks the camel's back, one little feather flutters down and tickles the wombat's nose. As you can imagine, the result is one very big wombat sneeze that sends the flock of cheeky birds away as we count them back down from ten to two leaving one very tired wombat finally to get some rest to be his best. Or does he?

The soft pastel colours combined with well executed black and white drawings, gives this book an earthy feel that both highlights the counting numbers and enhances the mood of the wombat. There is also a number of challenging words within the rhyming sequences that might require some further discussion with young children, but this only adds to the teaching and learning possibilities within the book. Further educational possibilities, aside from counting forwards and backwards to and from ten, might be the exploration of native Australian animals linked to an environment theme. Some of these possibilities are nicely detailed at the back of the book by explaining notions such as why the wombat might be so tired, why curlews appear to be curious and asking if all birds are really very loud.

Overall, Treml has managed to combine a wonderful rhyming counting story that is uniquely Australian, with inquisitive images of characters, each with a personality of their own.

Brad Beales, Clifton Springs PS, Victoria

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Article Details
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Author:Beales, Brad
Publication:Practically Primary
Article Type:Book review
Date:Feb 1, 2013
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