The title, ‘A Feast for Wombat’, promises a happy ending for this tale of friendship and persistence. Snuggled up in his cosy underground tunnel, Wombat slept until he grew lonely and decided it was time for a mud bath and to see his friends. Goanna, Magpie and Dingo are very pleased to see Wombat and each demonstrates a special ability. Wombat is very impressed and wonders if he could accomplish these feats too.
Goanna is the fastest climber around. Magpie is the best singer. Dingo is the cleverest dancer. Each friend tries to teach Goanna their special skills, but Goanna fails at each and becomes very despondent. Wombat decides, ‘It’s because they’re special. But I’m not special at all.’ The artist’s expressions for Wombat trying and failing arouse readers’ deepest sympathy.
Author Sally Morgan’s lyrical phrasing delights the ear and conjures up emotions and images with such phrases as, ‘You sing like a beautiful bubbling stream’ (the magpie); ‘You dance like the clouds’ (the Dingo) and ‘You run like the wind’ (the Goanna). The repeated structure of these descriptions and their rhythm provide simple and effective models of language use.
Wombat’s friends are determined to cheer him up claiming that he is their special friend and what amazing feats Wombat can do! He is strong. He can dig fantastic tunnels. He is a good swimmer. In a grand finale and burst of heart-warming support, Wombat’s friends treat him to a feast because he is their very special friend. For young readers, who themselves do not succeed at everything they try, here is a heart-warming story.
Softly textured backgrounds, the animal’s warm colours and their habitat feature in this heart-warming story. Each animal is showcased in its habitat featuring soft warm browns and greens of the landscape. There are insights into each animal’s special attributes which could engender discussion about animals suited to their particular environment. For the observant viewer, there is a repeated appearance of an unnamed but very observant mouse making some astute and humorous observations. As the story concludes, Wombat realises that he will never sing like Magpie, dance like Dingo, or run like Goanna, but he has his own special abilities and his friends that reassure him of these.
Sally Morgan belongs to the Palyku people from the eastern Pilbara region of Western Australia. Tania Erzinger is an Australian painter and illustrator who is inspired by animals and nature. She has illustrated several children's picture books written by Sally Morgan.