Philip Bunting, author-illustrator
Philip Bunting is an author and illustrator with a soft spot for creating picture books for sleep-deprived, time-poor, raisin-encrusted parents (and their children). He has written and illustrated many books for children, including How Did I Get Here?: Your Story from the Big Bang to Your Birthday and The World's Most Pointless Animals. Philip’s work deliberately encourages playful interaction, creating a platform for genuine engagement and fun. Philip’s books have been translated into multiple languages and published in over 30 countries around the world.
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Fall in love with wombats.
Bunting’s digitally rendered, cut-paper cartoon art depicts an adorable, squat brown animal who peers out at readers on the first page. Each page contains a simple but playful illustration of one or more wombats, set against a solidly colored background, and a short, pun-based description beneath. A daring and darling wombat does a handstand on a ball (“Acrobat”), while two others talk on cellphones (“Chit.” “Chat”). Some wombats are just plain silly, like the one eating a doughnut (“Om-nom-nombat”) or the “Fallendownaholebat” (accompanied by an illustration of the creature on its back), but others introduce basic skills. There are wombats to count (“Wombat. Twobats. Threebats. Morebats”), shapes to name (“Squarebat. Roundbat. Longbat”), and primary colors to recognize (“Redbat. Yellowbat. Bluebat”). More advanced concepts include emotions (“Happybat. Grumpybat”) and directions (“Leftbat. Rightbat”). Making the read-aloud even more fun are some internal rhymes later in the book (“Wrongbat. Songbat”). There is some potty humor—a close-up of a wombat posterior and some freshly deposited droppings (“Stinkbat”)—and adults might need to explain what a cricket bat is. A string of images at the very end of the book depicting two lovestruck wombats who form a family is especially clever and heartwarming (“Likebat. Lovebat. Thisbat. Thatbat. Madeanotherwombat”).
Readers will go batty for this one.
This book presents playful antics that all stem from the beginning word and animal: wombat. Wombat leads to twobats, threebats, morebats, and other silly variations of wombat essence, some making more sense than others. Young children will not mind the nonsensical offerings of the author and will undoubtedly enjoy the chubby, squat transformations a wombat can go through to present all manner of bats, from grumpybat to fruit bat to numbat. Don’t know what a numbat is? Don’t worry, there is a brief definition at the end of the story. Although, students and adults alike might be left wondering which are fictional creatures and which are real. While the story does not offer complete sentences, complete thoughts and visuals are presented by the illustrations and would be perfect to explain and show students the subtle, but effective changes an illustrator can make to portray emotions and personalities. This story lacks a plot, but is chockful of silliness, amusement, and rhythm, which will bound to have readers coming back for more.
Page count: 40
81/2 x 11