Wombat Books Blog

Wombat Books blog is the place to keep up to date with all the goings-on in the world of Aussie kid's books.

New Release: Possum Games

New Release: Possum Games

Late at night on a rusty tin roof, a possum finds his own special talent

Everyone is good at something. You just need to keep trying new things until you find your own special talent.

Written for young children aged from 4 to 8 years, Possum Games is written for anyone who has had possums living either on or in their roof. As many Aussies kids can identify with, possums always seem to be the loudest at bedtime.

Children will be captivated by the idea of the possums actually having their own nightly athletics carnival on the roof while they are sleeping. Riley is the smallest and most shy possum of the family, but he never gives up until he finds own amazing skills.

Michelle Worthington is an internationally published, award winning children's author. The stories she writes are like the stories she used to read when she was young with a modern twist.

"Don't be afraid to write picture books that push boundaries, invent words, and challenge readers. Picture books can change the world," said Michelle.

The author has volunteered as a story teller and workshop presenter at the 2012 Out of the Box Festival in Brisbane, the 2012 Gold Coast Writers Festival and 2013 4QK Special Children's Christmas Party and this year will be featuring at the Conscious Life Festival and Kids Culture on the Sunshine Coast as Fairy Belle, the book fairy. Her goal is to be known for classically elegant, entertaining and compassionate stories for young children.

Illustrator, Sandra Temple has been a professional artist, illustrator and author for more than thirty years. She has travelled extensively with her art, gaining insights into her special interest, the world's endangered species.

Possum Games is available in all good bookstores or buy online now.

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A chat with illustrator Sandra Temple

A chat with illustrator Sandra Temple

As part of the inaugural Wombat Books Illustration Challenge, we will be running a series of blogs featuring successful illustrators - to offer advice and inspiration and help budding illustrators learn from the best in the 'biz'.

Sandra Temple has previously illustrated Puggle's Problem by Aleesah Darlison (who is the author of the Illustration Challenge book - Zoo Ball) as well as a range of other books - many of which feature zoo animals from around the world.

Sandra Temple is an international award winning wildlife artist. She is passionate about conservation and the environment. Usually she is asked to illustrate books that require a lot of animals and birds in them. Sandra is also an author, multi media tutor and a body painter for events and film.

Question 1: When did you start illustrating and what was the first book you ever illustrated?

I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil properly. In nearly all the photos of me as a child I am colouring, drawing or reading. The first book I ever illustrated was in Primary school, it was about a little fawn who was afraid of being alone. I even laminated it.

Question 2: What is the most challenging part of being an illustrator?

For me, it's trying to make my pictures are not too different from what the writer sees in their own version – usually in their head, and also keeping the publishers ideas there too.

Question 3: What is your favourite part about being an illustrator?

When the illustrations are finished and they are all approved, I get a feeling of satisfaction, but my favourite part has to be when children enjoy the story read out loud and it becomes their choice to read over and over again.

Question 4: When given a story to illustrate, what is the first thing you do to get your ideas flowing?

I always read the book aloud a few times to see how it flows. Then think of each page as a picture and sketch small thumbnail sketches of the pages very roughly. After that it's lots of scribbles until the characters develop. The pictures need to match the words so if the kangaroo is wearing a red spotted scarf I make sure that it IS wearing a red spotted scarf and things like that.

Question 5: If you could give one piece of advice to a budding illustrator, what would it be?

Draw, and draw, and keep drawing. Study human bodies and movement, and if serious, find a good teacher. It is possible to teach yourself (after all, I did) but much quicker to be guided by someone who can help you with shortcuts and tips.

Find out more about Sandra Temple

Find out more about the Illustration Challenge


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An interview with Michelle Worthington

An interview with Michelle Worthington

My name is Michelle Worthington and I am a published Australian author. The stories I write are like the stories I used to read when I was little and they have what may now be seen as an old fashioned feel, but they have a timeless message. My goal is to be a successful Australian author known for classically elegant and compassionate stories for young children.

Question 1: What was your first book published?

The Bedtime Band was published in 2011 by Wombat Books, illustrated by Sandra Temple. It is based on a poem I wrote when I was in Grade 5 about what the animals get up to while we are asleep

Question 2: What is the hardest part about being an author?

Being a busy Mum of two boys and working full time, I don't get a lot of time to sit still. But I write in little pockets of time during the day or at night when the boys have gone to bed. I don't have a very good memory so when I get an idea, I need to write it down straight away.

Question 3: What was your favourite children’s book when you were a kid?

I love Australian authors because I think they write with a unique humour and empathy that is very rare in modern writing. Australian picture books had their golden age in the 1970's when I was growing up. Mem Fox's Possum Magic illustrated by multi award winning artist Julie Vivas, David Cox's Tin Lizzie were the staples of my bookshelves. Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen and Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French.

Question 4: What writing genre do you like to do the most?

Picture Books are my favourite and they always will be because they are the beginning of a child’s reading journey and foster a love of books.

Question 5: What do you consider your biggest achievement?

My two sons and how smart and independent they are. 

Question 6: Where do you see the future of children’s books (ebooks/apps/print)?

It doesn’t really matter if kids are reading paper books, ebooks or book apps, as long as they are reading.  Authors need to learn to adapt if they want to share their stories with modern children.

Question 7: What is your favourite way/time to read?

I always read a book to go to sleep at night and I have taught my boys to do the same.

Question 8: What book are you reading right now?

I am currently reading the Spooks Series by Joseph Delaney with my oldest son. I like reading what he reads so we can talk about it and share ideas.

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