an ode to an Australian winter, where snow falls on gum trees

by Susannah Chambers, illustrated by Mark Jackson – Allen & Unwin, 2016
ages newborn to 8 years / Australia, diversitys.o.s.e.

As much as I love and resonate to My Country, there is one part of Australia that Dorothea Mackellar missed: snow falling on gum trees.

Our family took a trip to the snow many years ago and the sight of snow on gum trees has stayed with me as one of the truly stunning vistas of my life. So I’m a bit in love with The Snow Wombat.

This is a rhyming story set in Australia’s high country in the winter.

It's charming to read aloud with a little one snuggled beside you while winter rages outside or while waiting for a long summer to end.

Granted, it’s not hard to make a wombat cute, but this one is especially appealing. 

Here, the wombat ambles through the snowy countryside, past a classic stockman’s hut, past some skiers and snowy river banks, along a snow covered road and more until arriving home to a dry, warm burrow, where there is, at last,  no snow.

Books with rhymes are great for young children and The Snow Wombat is nicely set out so that the final rhyme each time is on a new page, giving an opportunity to anticipate and call out the rhyming word. For example:

Snow on the mountain peak.
Snow on the gums.
Snow on the robin’s beak.
Snow on my …TUM.

There are plenty of new words to learn too, like woollybutt (which doesn’t refer to the sheep on the same page!), horse’s flank, and burrow. 

There's a lovely amount of detail in the pictures, almost every page has other animals (native or introduced) tucked in to the countryside. And because I’m a sucker for a beautiful map, I really like the end pages with the map of wombat’s journey – they’re wonderfully nostalgic and seem to carry a promise of things to come. 

In many ways this is a celebration of the romance of the Australian countryside – its beauty, diversity and uniqueness - and the simple joy that comes in finding your way home.

The Snow Wombat would make a lovely 'welcome' gift for a winter baby, Australian or otherwise. For that special little one, a collection of Wombat books would be just lovely – you could include The Snow Wombat, Wombat Divine by Mem Fox, Wombat Stew by Marcia Vaughan and Pamela Lofts, and Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French.

You can buy The Snow Wombat via these direct links: Amazon - Book Depository - Booktopia