A few adorable children’s books: Diary of a Wombat and Diary of a Baby Wombat.
February 08, 2011

I selected Diary of a Wombat and Diary of a Baby Wombat, written by Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Whatley, today because Charlotte usually refuses to set them down.  Of course, you can’t tell this from the photograph below because lately she also refuses to look at books without me and my myriad of sound effects.

What can I say?  Apparently I make an exceptional wombat snuffle.

Personally, my favorite title is the original Diary of a Wombat.  It’s hilarious, the illustrations are fun, and is simple enough that Charlotte can enjoy acting it out with me.  I also love that it features an unusual animal (well…unusual to us!) and that we’ve been able to tie French’s book into some of our daily activities.  Charlotte loves helping me dig wombat-style in the garden and we’ve been reading the book right before naptime to remind her that everybody needs sleep.

Even wombats.

My daughter, on the other hand, prefers Diary of a Baby Wombat.  I think there are two reasons for this.  First of all, there is a toddler illustrated in this book and as a general rule Charlotte believes that all babies and toddlers illustrated in books are her.  Skin color, hair color, age, sex, none of that matters – they’re all Baby Charlotte.  She loves to have me pretend to be the baby wombat while she pretends to be the toddler.

I really got the short end of that stick.

The second reason that I think Charlotte likes Diary of a Baby Wombat more is because it has a plot that she seems to understand.  The first book reads as a list of activities – the wombat sleeps and digs holes and chews a hole in a door and eats carrots and it’s the activities themselves that are humorous and endearing.  The sequel, on the other hand, follows a baby wombat’s hunt for a new hole.  It’s charming and just as witty as the first book, but my child does seem to understand the plot a bit more.

Oh, and also?  If you are looking for a story stretcher: wombats are really fun to paint.  It’s like, you paint a bear and it looks more like a blob than a bear?  CALL IT A WOMBAT.  I’m just saying, you know, it makes art time a little more fun for those of us who don’t spend it putting copious quantities of blue paint in our hair.

What to do: You can enter this giveaway by leaving a comment below or sending me an e-mail answering this: are there any oddball creatures (or just oddball to you) that you love seeing in picture books?  All you need is an e-mail address.  The giveaway ends Sunday evening at 9 P.M. Pacific Time.  There will be two winners: one for each book.  You can leave one entry every day, for a total of up to six entries.

To purchase this book: You can buy either of the Wombat books through Amazon.com: Diary of a Wombat by clicking here and Diary of a Baby Wombat by clicking here (those links use my affiliate code) or locate a local retailer through Indie Bound.org.

Last, but not least: I am trying to wrap up loose ends from 2010.  If you were notified that you won a book and you have not received it - either from me or from the publisher - please let me know.  As well, I have not received responses from a couple people.  Please don’t make me hunt you down - all I need is your mailing address!

Jackie French | Houghton Mifflin for Kids | Houghton Mifflin Facebook | Houghton Mifflin Twitter


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  1. By on February 08, 2011

    I know they are not “oddball”....but I love monkeys.  Too cute!

  2. By tasha on February 08, 2011

    my favorite odd ball animals to read about are chameleons.

  3. By on February 08, 2011

    I love dogs… They aren’t too oddball, but the little barks and ruffs that my sweet baby girl makes are hilarious!

  4. By Sarah C on February 08, 2011

    I absolutely adore the OCD squirrel from “Scaredy Squirrel” by Melanie Watt. His phobias and emergency kit crack up every single time.

  5. By on February 08, 2011

    We love to see tortoises in books because we have a pet tortoise, Murray, who’s a favorite character around here.

  6. By on February 08, 2011

    not odd but i love owls!!

  7. By on February 08, 2011

    Not terribly odd but I love tucans!

  8. By on February 08, 2011

    Llamas…who knew they were featured so heavily in childrens books!

  9. By on February 08, 2011

    Ditto on Llamas. I wasn’t into them until my Charlotte became attached to her llama doll.

    Other children may sleep with teddy bears, my daughter sleeps with a stuffed llama.

  10. By Michelle J on February 08, 2011

    hippos!!!

  11. By on February 08, 2011

    I love finding bats in picture books, especially when they are portrayed with affection (rather than as spooky and scary)!

  12. By on February 08, 2011

    I always loved looking for the Cricket and the Spider in Little Critter books.

  13. By erin on February 08, 2011

    Maybe it is not that oddball, but I love seeing elephants (or hippos, or rhinos) in swimsuits.  Surprisingly, we have at least two books that I can think of right off the top of my head that feature an elephant and a hippo in swimsuits.

  14. By Sara on February 08, 2011

    I know they are not oddball on any level, but I love seeing elephants in picture books. I think because my nearly 1 year old always laughs outloud when she sees one!

  15. By beyond on February 08, 2011

    i think penguins are great in children’s books. and seagulls.

  16. By on February 08, 2011

    Manatees or Platypus’ (although I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a children’s book with platypus’...I’m sure they’re out there, I must start searching). I love seahorses too.

  17. By Kimberly o'Rosky on February 08, 2011

    Oh my. If you were to ask my husband what his favorite exhibit is at the zoo, his answer would be the wombats. He will be thrilled when I show him these books. I like the Charlie Harper books you suggested. He uses some uncommon animals in them.

  18. By on February 08, 2011

    I love the Llama books. The kids love it too

  19. By on February 08, 2011

    Hedgehogs rank as my number one favorite storyteller main character. Who is the woman who did the hedgehog book with those Amazing Incredible illustratioins?? Oh golly-Jan Brett? That book sealed it for me. Hedgehogs rule.

  20. By on February 08, 2011

    We love cat in splat

  21. By Cynthia A on February 08, 2011

    Oddball creature: Aye-aye…. pretty cute… being part of the lemur family…. I do not know if it is something I would love to see in a book but it came to mind first :)

  22. By on February 08, 2011

    Although pigs are not oddball, my son adores them.  And he has received several “Olivia” books which always crack me up, I love the way those crazy pigs look walking upright on their hooves!

  23. By on February 09, 2011

    elephants are a favorite.  Might go back to my favorite Disney movie…Dumbo.

  24. By on February 09, 2011

    My mom told me she had a book about a couple of cockroaches when she was a kid.  Alas, I’ve never seen this book!  But I sure would be tickled to find a children’s book featuring cockroaches! (not that I like them in real life ....)

  25. By Lindsay on February 09, 2011

    GOATS! It sounds ridiculous, but books about and with goats were my favorite as a little kid—many of which I saved for our baby, due in July! There’s just something so super cute about them!

  26. By on February 09, 2011

    I love books about kangaroos.  They jump! And store things in their pouches! Pure awesome!!

  27. By on February 10, 2011

    I’m always really excited whenever I find an elephant or a walrus in a picture book!  Elephants are my favorite, esp in they’re not too Disney-fied.

  28. By on February 11, 2011

    I would be tickled pink to find a children’s book about a peacock.  I’m sure there must be at least one; I just don’t know about it yet.

  29. By on February 12, 2011

    I also love stories about beetles.  Lady beetles (ladybugs) are cute, but dung beetles are awesome!

  30. By Heidi on February 13, 2011

    Hello! Do you KNOW how much I adore WOMBATS???

  31. By on February 13, 2011

    Finding a fox in a picture book is wonderful—not quite up there with spotting one in the wild—but still great!  One of my favorite picture books is The Tomten and the Fox (Astrid Lindgren), but, alas, I don’t have a copy, and it’s not so easy to come by nowadays.


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