31 August 2011

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat

A journey around Melbourne

by Tania McCartney, illustrations by Kieron Pratt

Ford Street Publishing. Australian, Picture. Paperback, RRP $22.95

Guest Reviewer - Vicki Stanton (http://www.buzzwordsmagazine.com/)

The intrepid Riley is off in his red bi-plane for his fourth adventure. This time he flies to my hometown of Melbourne and encounters a grumpy wombat. Riley wants to discover the reason for her grumpiness and help her but first needs to find her again.

McCartney’s concept of searching for the grumbly wombat is perfect for showcasing the sights of Melbourne and further afield in regional Victoria. Just a few of the many attractions included are: Bourke Street Mall, Flinders Street Station, St Kilda Beach, the Dandenong Ranges, Sovereign Hill and the Great Ocean Road.

The format follows the previous Riley books with black-and-white photographs, some of which were contributed by McCartney, overlaid by Pratt’s bright and cheeky illustrations. Numerous gadgets are at Riley’s disposal, something that kids will love (and wish for).

I loved the inclusion of Riley’s friends from his previous adventures. They hang from the plane’s wings and operate contraptions in a bid to find the wombat. An underlying thread of friendship and concern is evident.

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat is a great introduction to Melbourne for those that don’t know her and for those of us that do it might just make you yearn for a visit. It did me!

The fifth Riley adventure, Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo: A journey around Canberra is due out in 2012. You can also read a review of the third Riley adventure Riley and the curious koala at Buzz Words Books.


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