Christmas around the World – Australia
Wombat Divine by Mem Fox (1995)
For ages 4-7
Today we head down to Australia, where Christmas takes place in the heat of the summer. My parents lived in Adelaide, Australia where the Christmas eve service was held on the beach and Christmas day barbecues were the norm.
Wombat Divine is an amusing story about a young wombat who can’t wait to join this year’s Nativity play.
The story begins:
“It was the week before Christmas.
Wombat loved Christmas.
He loved the carols and the candles,
The presents and the pudding,
But most of all he loved the Nativity play”
As various Australian animals were picked to play the different parts, Wombat never seemed to fit any of the roles, due to his size or various deficiencies. Just when Wombat begins to despair, Emu, the pageant director, comes up with the perfect part!
A great introduction to Australian animals for young children.
Mem Fox (Merrion Frances) is an Australian writer of children’s books and as well as a teacher specializing in literacy. Fox was born in Melbourne, Australia but grew up in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where her parents served as missionaries. She has published over 35 books for children. Fox now lives in Adelaide, Australia. Possum Magic, her first picture book, is now one of the most recognised picture books in Australia and has sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
The illustrations by Kerry Argent are warm, bright, colorful, and amusing, and will make children laugh. A fun, light read the whole family will enjoy!
“Its pleasures are infectious” Library Journal
I also love that the focus of this Christmas story is on the Nativity and putting on a Christmas pageant.
You can find the story being read aloud on this youtube video by an Australian narrator https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0N4ENuX0Osc