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Thomas Rippy
Goodnight, Mr. Wombat
Thomas Rippy, author
A family of three live on a small farm in Australia. Mother and daughter are sitting on the back porch and it is raining hard. The daughter, Cindy, sees a big wombat in the backyard , sitting in the rain. They call to the wombat, but it stays where it is. So, they put on raincoats, and walk up to the wombat with carrots. Cindy held out a carrot, and the hungry wombat ate it quickly. Then , Cindy held out another carrot, and the wombat followed mother and daughter onto the back porch. From that moment on, a loving friendship developed between Cindy and the old wombat.
Wombats might seem like fantastic creatures. About the size of a four-year-old child, these Australia natives look like an improbable yet adorable mash-up of a bear and a rodent, making them a perfect character for a children’s story. In Rippy’s sweet, playful picture book for young readers, a little girl named Cindy befriends one of these curious marsupials when he wanders into her yard during a rainstorm. Cindy and her mother lure the animal to their porch and out of the downpour by offering him carrots, and they give him cozy blankets to sleep on. Mr. Wombat is so comfortable that returns to his bed every night and eventually builds a permanent home beneath the family’s tool shed.

Simple and straightforward, this touching tale offers plenty of opportunities for children and adults to experience genuine empathy. Cindy’s father speculates that Mr. Wombat got lost during the storm because of his advanced age. “He is very old, Cindy,” he tells his daughter. “I am happy that he is safe and that you gave him carrots to eat.” Each night, Cindy tells Mr. Wombat she loves him: “Carrots and kisses, good night, Mr. Wombat, I love you.” This cute, silly refrain is rooted in genuine concern for the wombat’s well-being, which will inspire kids to look at the world around them with care and compassion.

Rippy’s illustrations are colorful and comforting, showing Cindy and her parents interacting peacefully with the calm, cat-like wombat. The family smiles while feeding and petting Mr. Wombat amid bucolic farm scenes, which feel nostalgic and welcoming enough to make readers want to join the marsupial on his cozy pallet. A self-proclaimed outdoorsman and animal lover, Rippy shares a gentle appreciation for the natural world. That impulse is contagious, as is the desire to make some amazing new animal friends.

Takeaway: In this sweet, playful picture book a little girl named befriends a wayward wombat.

Great for fans of: John Butler’s Can You Cuddle Like a Koala?, Jackie French’s Diary of a Wombat.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: A-
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-