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Wesley Wombat tries very hard to be a superhero. 'If only I had superpowers like all my friends!' he thinks longingly.
All of Wesley's friends can do special things: the kangaroo can jump really high, the frilled lizard can make itself look big and scary, the ant can lift up things bigger than itself and the eagle can see things miles away. . . children will enjoy lifting the flaps to see Wesley's disastrous attempts to copy his friends!
Feeling despondent, Wesley sets off to a bush birthday party, only to find his friends trapped in a burning shed. Finally he discovers his very own superpowers - just in time!
At the back of the book, check out the real fascinating 'superpowers' of the native animals in this story.
Wesley Wombat really wanted to be a superhero.
‘If only I had superpowers like all my friends!’ he thought longingly.
If only he could fly like the king parrot, swim like the platypus, jump like the kangaroo or protect himself with body armour like the echidna. But, sadly, no matter how hard he tries to be like his friends in the bush, his attempts end in near disaster. He is feeling really despondent but his mother reassures him he will find his special talent and to look forward to the birthday party with his friends the next day. And it is on his way to the party that Wesley discovers his super power and becomes a super hero.
This is a charming story written for the very young who are learning to identify our unique indigenous creatures and their special characteristics. Using a lift-the-flap format, Cheryl Westenberg has created the most wonderful illustrations of Wesley's mishaps that little ones (and bigger ones too) will roll on the floor laughing and really understand the fun to be had in stories while understanding that each of us has our own super power because we are all really good at something. Bright and colourful and accompanied by extra pages of facts about each of the featured creatures, this is a must-have addition for the early childhood collection.
Review by Barbara Braxton
Do you wish you could be a superhero?
In my day to get your regular fix of superheroes on the television there was Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman alongside a colourful cartoon-like TV series with Batman and Robin. There was also a Superman movie every now and then and of course, if you were super keen, a mountain of comic books to help you dream about ways to save the world. Even back then the television sets looked clumsy and movie effects made it clear these worlds were not real. Today the comic books have come to life with computer generated imagery and over paid actors and actresses creating worlds that seem real and where every issue can be fixed with a super power.
The superhero phenomena in 2018 has created a world of unrealistic expectations and there is not enough time in the day to get to know our everyday superheroes. Thankfully Susan Hall and Cheryl Westenberg have something to offer young minds to help them understand the full continuum of what it means to be a superhero.
Enter Wesley who wants to be a superhero too. Perhaps he too has been influenced by the imaginary CGI worlds and believes if he sets his mind to it, he can do anything too. He has the cape and wants to fly. Wesley tries to do all the things his Australian animal friends can do like swim deep, jump high, see far and doesn’t have much success. Spoiler Alert…. by the end of the story he discovers his own superpower and saves the day.
The National Library of Australia have done a clever job putting this book together which is a combination of fact and fiction. They have combined Susan’s tale of self-discovery with Cheryl’s wonderful illustrations plus added important facts about our wonderful native Australian animals and their superpowers. Did you know wombats can run really fast? The superpower fact section explains how wombats can run 100 metres in less than 10 seconds which is as fast as an Olympic runner.
As well as a fun story to revisit regularly this book will encourage readers to think more about their superpowers while also learning more about the superpowers of animals native to Australia. Wesley shows us how to find our own superpowers in a wonderfully clumsy way. Thank you, Wesley.
This book is a great gift for a home, preschool or school library near you.
Review by Dr Claire Manning (Education and Learning Consultant)