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How to Scratch a Wombat: Where to Find It . . . What to Feed It . . . Why It Sleeps All Day
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How to Scratch a Wombat: Where to Find It . . . What to Feed It . . . Why It Sleeps All Day (Wombat)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  126 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
What's the best way to scratch a wombat? Well, if it's a wombat that's familiar with humans, says author Jackie French, you rub the bony ridge along its back or behind its ears. And the harder you scratch, the better the wombat likes it. For more than thirty years, Jackie French has lived in the Australian bush, coexisting with wild wombats. In this cross between memoir an ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published February 16th 2009 by Clarion Books (first published 2005)
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Aug 30, 2011 karen rated it it was amazing
outstanding! i was laughing so hard at these stubborn, willful little creatures it was hurting me. after i read frosty: a raccoon to remember, i wanted a raccoon really badly. now i require a wombat. and a red panda. but back to what i learned: wombats sleep on their backs, with their little legs sticking straight up in the air. wombats are clever enough to use a stick as a lever to move a boulder that stands between it and a garden patch. wombats will destroy everything you own if you dont give ...more
French settled in a wildish section of Australia many years ago, putting her in a fabulous position to observe wombats. Since then she's devoted some time to rehabilitating wildlife as well as observing and writing about it.

Fun nonfiction for the critter-lover; a good interim book for kids who aren't yet ready for Herriot, but are past primarily picture books. Wombats are adorable and troublesome, and her anecdotes are well delivered and engaging on a level suitable for elementary school kids as
Jan 24, 2009 Betsy rated it really liked it
I remember where I was the first time I read Jackie French’s Diary of a Wombat. I was in a bookstore perusing the picture book titles when I was struck by the image of Bruce Whatley’s ridiculously adorable wombat dead asleep on its side, a pile of carrots sitting nearby. Mind you, I did not know what a wombat was. The name was vaguely familiar. It's one of those Australian names for an animal I’d never seen before, right? The book turned out to be just as charming as the cover, and through it wh ...more
Jackie French has been living among wombats in the near-wilds of Australia for over 30 years. She’s made friends with her neighborhood wombats and has cared for orphaned and injured wombats. Wombats are curious creatures, marsupials, which like to dig. They experience the world primarily through their large nostrils and have a highly evolved sense of smell. They spend their days underground in comfortable burrows and their evenings above ground munching on lush green grass (when they can get it) ...more
Lisa Vegan
Apr 19, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: children interested in wombats, Australian wildlife, nature; fans of French’s wombat picture books
This book is illustrated but it’s not a picture book. This book is amusing but it’s a factual book about wombats. I loved this author’s children’s picture book Diary of a Wombat and I have her new picture book Diary of a BABY Wombat on a reserve hold at the library.

This is an entirely different type of book. It’s a nature book about wombats. There are no photos, unfortunately, but it is illustrated and the illustrations are cute and informative.

This author obviously is extremely fond of wombat
Sep 25, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, kid-lit
I really enjoyed this book, even though it sometimes lacked official scientific explanation ("Sometimes a wombat meets another wombat as they wander through the bush, and they stop, nose to nose. They may stay like that for ten minutes or half an hour. I have no idea what they are doing. Gossiping? Exchanging smells?" This couldn't have been further researched??) But all in all, this is a great non-fiction title for readers interested in learning about wombats. The author has spent a lot of time ...more
Jun 09, 2012 Garnet rated it really liked it
I asked the librarian to help me find a non-fiction book that I could read to my kids that would not bore me to tears. And this was the fix!

So funny! So informative! So perfect for my knowledge craving son. Written in an easy style for young readers. But packed with enough personality to keep the whole family engaged.

One week ago, we knew nothing about wombats. In fact Isaac's first question was: What IS a wombat?! But now we know all these little stories and fun facts about wombats. It's our ne
Jan 19, 2016 Linden rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Third through fifth grade
Recommended to Linden by: The author's other work

Already a fan of Jackie French for her "Read-and-Wonder" science books from Candlewick Press, after discovering Diary of a Wombat, I searched for more of her work at the public library. And found, Ta-Dah!, a second wombat book, this one non-fiction.

Better than the usual perspective of "wombats are. . ." or "wombats have. . ." of standard factual work, this wonderful book is in the voice of her first-hand experience. She uses vignettes about various individuals to illuminate the habits, talents and
Nov 12, 2014 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: libs-642
French, J. & Whatley, B. (2005). How to Scratch a Wombat: Where to Find It...What to Feed It...Why It Sleeps All Day. New York: Clarion.

Starred review Kirkus 2008


After spending decades living near wombats, Jackie French knows quite a bit about them. She combines facts about wombats with anecdotes about her real life wombat “friends” and their distinct personalities. The text is very engaging and enjoyable to read, written in a somewhat conversational tone. There are funny insert
Amy Harris
Dec 09, 2014 Amy Harris rated it liked it
Shelves: libs-642
French, J. & Whatley, B. (2005). How to Scratch a Wombat: Where to Find It...What to Feed It...Why It Sleeps All Day. New York: Clarion.

Starred review Kirkus 2008


After spending decades living near wombats, Jackie French knows quite a bit about them. She combines facts about wombats with anecdotes about her real life wombat friends and their distinct personalities. The text is very engaging and enjoyable to read, written in a somewhat conversational tone. There are funny inserts
Dec 02, 2013 Jordan rated it it was amazing
Everything you never knew you wanted to know about wombats. The book opens with a brief tale about the authors beginnings as a farmer and writer, leading into how she became an expert on wombats. You will find out about the history of wombats, what they are and look like, how they’re built, what sort of behaviour they have, and how to meet, take care of, and protect wombats in the wild. At the very end, Jackie French leaves us all with what she has learnt from wombats, and what we may use that k ...more
Apr 08, 2013 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who want to learn more about wombats and Jackie French
Although we read Diary of a Wombat several years ago, we only recently returned to the series. We read Christmas Wombat and Diary of a BABY Wombat in the beginning of the year and then put this book on hold, too.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but we were all pleasantly surprised at how informative, humorous and charming this book is. It's a fairly long book, especially compared to the picture books, so we read just a couple of chapters at a time. I thought the illustrations were quite charming a
Jun 27, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it
This has been the perfect birthday present for my six-year-old who is inexplicably obsessed with wombats. And I don't really blame him after reading this fascinating book. They really are amazing mammals. In this book, French describes her experience over the years sharing a habitat with several wombats of various ages and personalities. She infuses just the right mix of humor and information to make this a great read-aloud book for a young animal-lover.
Jennifer Heise
Aug 20, 2014 Jennifer Heise rated it really liked it
Once you've read Diary of a Wombat, you are probably primed to love "How to Scratch a Wombat," which is non-fiction expanding on the nature of wombats, from the perspective of an experienced wombat-rehabber. If you've been entranced by the videos of baby wombats interacting with their rehabbers, you'll enjoy this witty but short (and easy reading level) book. Original released, I believe, as "The Secret World of Wombats" in Australia...
Sep 14, 2009 Ramarie rated it liked it
So I came upon this book sort of the wrong way 'round. The author wrote a picture book, Diary of a Wombat, in which a wombat records his daily activities which mostly include sleeping, scratching and making mischief to get carrots, or just for the heck of it. The delight is in the illustrations.
This book is kind of a companion book to the Diary of a Wombat. It's shelved in nonfiction and though it reads like fiction, it gives all sorts of useful information about the creatures known as wombats.
Melissa Dwyer
Nov 03, 2015 Melissa Dwyer rated it really liked it
Originally rated G+ by Suzanna M. Couch
Jackie French introduces the wombat in a special way. For more than thirty years she lived in Australia observing the wombat in their habitat. She attempts to answer questions as to why the wombat does what they do. She is so close to these creatures, that she has first names for them. She describes daily experiences of the wombat since the live so close to her home. Information includes behavior, physical appearance, living quarters, and how they take care
Erin Sterling
From the creators of the fabulous Diary of a Wombat comes this non-fiction book about the actual lives of wombats, discussing everything from how the author fell in love with wombats in the first place, their history, their body, daily routine, eating and mating habits, friends, lifespan, communication, and caring for orphan wombats. Kids will enjoy the silly humor and stories and end-of-chapter “quizzes” such as how to tell if you are a wombat or what a wombat is not (a bear, a badger, allowed ...more
Oct 07, 2015 Kirsten rated it really liked it
Quirky and fascinating. I'd like to meet a wombat someday.
Jan 20, 2015 Molly rated it it was amazing
Read this out loud to my kids and we all learned a lot!
Jul 28, 2012 CuteBadger rated it it was amazing
This is one of my comfort books, along with the author and illustrator's Diary of A Wombat, so I read it over and over again when I feel the need of some cheering up. I'm not Australian, I don't have any kids, but I do love wombats and I love this book about them.

The illustrations are wonderful, line drawings that brilliantly bring the personalities of their subjects to life. The book provides lots of interesting information about wombats and lives, but most of all shows that they each have thei
We read the first few chapters of this then had to return it to the library. We have it again and will write up a review when we're done. We all loved the first part - it's laugh-out-loud funny while still being informational. If all science were this interesting we'd have a hard time studying anything else.

The boys really enjoyed this book. There were a few slow parts, but overall it continued to teach and entertain. We learned a lot and had some funny stories to talk about afterward.
The Library Lady
Mar 16, 2009 The Library Lady rated it really liked it
This may attract kids who loved Diary of a Wombat or the sort of kid who still reads Sterling North's Rascal. But beyond that I doubt if this is going to fly off the shelves.

Yes, it's very entertaining. But how many American kids are going need to know how to rear an orphaned wombat?
Since reading the webcomic Digger, I have found a new affection for wombats. They are ridiculously adorable creatures. This book, nonfiction companion to Diary of a Wombat, gives an overview of the nature and habits of wombats from the perspective of an author who has lived closely with these creatures. Enjoyable for kids who like animals and would be a great source for a first research project.
Kate Hastings
Jul 26, 2009 Kate Hastings rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Grades 2-6 nonfiction animals
Shelves: nonfiction
Funny book about the author's personal experience with the wombats that live under her house. Wombats are sort of like smart groundhogs in the US-- they like to dig under foundations and raid gardens. In the author's case, the wombats would actually get into her house and leave "presents" on her keyboard. Great reading for kids who enjoy animal facts and stories. Grades 2-6.
Karen Arendt
Aug 13, 2011 Karen Arendt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals, nonfiction
Loved it! This would be perfect to use as a nonfiction source for wombat research, although there is no index. A glossary is included at the beginning of the book. Jackie French's style of writing draws the reader in; it's almost as if she's sharing her "secrets" (ok, really observations) about wombats.
Jun 17, 2011 Wendy rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book! I learned a lot about wombats that I never knew. The author's writing style was terrific. I have searched for other books by her that are as good as this one without success. My sister read it, too, and she loved it as well. 2 thumbs up!
Aug 10, 2008 Joan rated it liked it
I didn't know anything about wombats except they live in Australia. Jackie French draws on years of living near wombats to give us anecdotes to make us chuckle and information to make us care. Bruce Whatley's illustrations make them endearing!
Apr 27, 2009 babyhippoface rated it really liked it
Who'd have thought that an informational book about wombats could be so much fun? I loved getting to know the individual wombats through Jackie French's stories.

Now I want a wombat! Well, maybe not. There is that issue of PONG to consider....
Oct 02, 2012 LauraW rated it really liked it
This book isn't quite as adorable at the Diary of a Wombat pair, but it has a lot more information in it. I would choose this book for the slightly older children that I enjoy working with the most - 8 to 12 year olds.
Oct 10, 2009 Linda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Grade 2-adult, teachers, parens
Shelves: upper-elem
Excellent book - also part biography of the author. Author also wrote Diary of a Wombat. Wombat are nocturnal animals if any students are studying those. Does discuss mating but in an appropriate manner young children
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Jackie is an award-winning writer, wombat negotiator and the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2014-2015. She is regarded as one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors, and writes across all genres - from picture books, history, fantasy, ecology and sci-fi to her much loved historical fiction. In her capacity as Australian Children’s Laureate, ‘Share a Story’ will be the primary philosoph ...more
More about Jackie French...

Other Books in the Series

Wombat (7 books)
  • Diary of a Wombat
  • Diary of a BABY Wombat
  • Christmas Wombat
  • Baby Wombat's Day
  • Wombat Goes to School
  • The Secret World Of Wombats

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