Harry the Hairy-Nosed Wombat
Harry the Hairy-Nosed Wombat cover
Harry the Hairy-Nosed WombatBy Jill Morris
Illustrated by Rich Richardson
- Age Range: 3-8 years
- Length: 48 pages
- Format: Hardcover and Paperback
- Size: 8.6 x 9.5 inches
- First Published: 1970
Harry the Hairy-Nosed Wombat is the tale of a wombat living in the desert and how his life changes when man moves in to construct a major highway through his territory.
This is a longer, more involved story than most of the other wombat books and is more a story book than a picture book. The book is also somewhat atypical for a children's book in that Harry does not talk. He is only partially anthropomorphized, and acts more like a real wombat than a human.
The text of the story gives quite a detailed and accurate account of the life of a Hairy-nosed wombat. The facts are interwoven with the story in an unobtrusive manner, and the narrative is both lively and surprisingly informative. The reader is likely to gain a reasonable understanding of real wombats.
The odd thing about this book is that although it's published in Australia, the artist seems to have confused Bare-nosed wombats with Hairy-nosed wombats. Despite the title Harry the Hair-Nosed Wombat, the cover picture clearly shows a Bare-nosed wombat. A Hairy-nosed wombat is not simply a Bare-nosed wombat in need of a shave; they do in fact look quite different from one another. Most of the interior pictures also depict a Bare-nosed wombat, with a couple of images showing what possibly could be a Hairy-nosed wombat. This inaccuracy is unfortunate considering the care the author has taken to correctly portray the habits of the Hairy-nosed wombat. The artwork itself is done reasonably well and Harry the wombat is generally depicted accurately (as a Bare-nosed wombat), as are the people and construction machinery.
NOTE: The comments about the artwork refer to an older version of the book, probably published around 1970. The current version has a different illustrator and probably more correctly portrays Hairy-nosed wombats.
Wombats Available from:
Greater Glider Press
Thirty-five years after it was first published, Harry the Hairy-Nosed Wombat does feel a bit old-fashioned as children's books have changed significantly in the intervening decades. But its underlying message of man against the environment is as viable today as ever. If only most real-life confrontations between man and nature could be solved so amicably.
Three and a half out of five stars
by Peter Marinacci
Mar. 19, 2006