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The Fire Wombat by Jackie French, illustrated by Danny Snell

Title: The Fire Wombat

Author: Jackie French, illustrated by Danny Snell

Genre: Survival stories, adventure

Publisher: HarperCollins Australia

Published: 29th October 2020

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 24

Price: $19.99

Synopsis: As the bushfire swallowed up the world they knew, a wombat shared her burrow with other animals.

As the flames of the bushfire approach, one small wombat is bravely followed by other animals to the safety of her underground burrow.

Based on events witnessed by Australian Children’s Laureate Jackie French during the 2020 fires, and co-created with award-winning illustrator Danny Snell, this is a story of courage, compassion and survival, which saw people across Australia come together to save our wildlife from devastation.

From best-selling author and Australian Children’s Laureate, Jackie French, and award-winning illustrator, Danny Snell, comes a story of survival, courage and friendship.


The end of 2019 and the start of 2020 in Australia were ravaged by days, weeks and months filled with fire and smoke, threats to properties and lives – human and animal, and a desperation for an end to the devastation. So many were on high alert to evacuate if the fire breached their defences, and we watched as animals lost homes, as people left their homes to the mercy of the flames. Jackie French, Australian Children’s Laureate, witnessed much of this destruction and terror around her property, but she also witnessed something beautiful: a wombat leading other animals to the safety of her burrow.

The images and the words work beautifully together to evoke a sense of terror. You can smell the fire and smoke and feel the fear that we all felt – the mark of a powerful story. Yet, there is hope in the form of the brave, little wombat, whose courage reminds us all that we can all do something to help and make a change, however small, within our means and capabilities.

Jackie French writes such a wide array of stories for all age groups. Her picture books are suited to all ages, from young kids to adults, and when you buy this book, a portion of the sales will go to The Wombat Protection Society.

This beautiful book is a marker of our history. It will serve to teach us the power of fire and when to have courage. It shows the amazing nature of animals, and the power of friendship in the bush, and will remind us that we need to take care of them. This year has been marked by fires, flood and a pandemic: three large events that will be etched in our collective memories forever, and it will be books like this that stand as markers in our history and reminders of what we need to change and look towards in the future. A powerful book that gave me hope amidst the fear of the encroaching fires. A must read for all Australians.

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