The idea for this children’s book came to me after reading a tweet that said wombats were saving other animals in the Australian bush fires by herding them into their burrows. The myth was later debunked because wombats are actually known to have terrible eyesight and herding capabilities. However, the story lingered in my head, a song that needed to play out. And Wilbert the Wombat Saves the Day was born.
Far, far away in the land down under
where the wombats and wallabies do play,
there lived a wombat whose name was Wilbert,
in his burrow is where he liked to stay.
All day long he would eat and sleep and dig
and only pause when disturbed from above,
by the pitter patter of stomping paws,
showering him with dust he did not love.
“Why be with others?” he thought grumpily,
“when you can build a burrow for just one?”
Ignoring the dust, he kept on digging,
for a wombat’s work was never done!
Then one day, with hunger in his belly,
Wilbert crawled out of his burrow to eat.
As he opened his door he almost yelped,
for a small wallaby hopped on his feet!
“Oh, I’m sorry, sir,” squeaked the wallaby,
“I did not see you. Where did you come from?”
Ignoring her question, he quickly said,
“I’m busy eating. Go back to your mum!”
Wendy was her name, and eagerly asked,
“You’re so big, round and furry. Who are you?”
Wilbert sighing in annoyance answered,
“Wilbert the Wombat. Now go on and shoo!”
She hopped with delight ignoring his plea,
“But I’ve never met a wombat before!”
Wilbert thought for a moment, then replied,
“I leave my burrow to eat, not much more.”
Surprised by his response, she quickly asked,
“But Mr. Wilbert, how do you find mates?”
“Who would need them?” he hmphed with a snort,
“Goodbye, Wallaby, my burrow awaits.”
Back in his burrow, Wilbert ate, and chewed,
and dug his home to be bigger than he.
Until one day he heard a racket above,
causing much dirt to fall – what could it be?
Waddling up to the burrow’s front door,
here he met Wendy, so scared with worry.
Wilbert shouted, “Wallaby, what is wrong?”
She cried, “Fire’s coming this way, hurry!”
Wendy shared, “We must push on to escape.
My little family can no longer stall.”
Wilbert replied, “Can you hop fast enough?”
She whimpered, “I fear not. I’m very small.”
Without thinking twice, Wilbert then replied,
“Into the burrow you’ll go ’til it’s past!”
Wendy blinked in surprise, “My family, too?”
He replied, “Yes, all the little ones. Fast!”
For the next few minutes, Wilbert would herd,
and into his burrow they all did go.
It might have been silly to see them all,
huddled up in the burrow in one row!
Hours later, as the silence set in,
they left the burrow, all alive and well.
Wendy thanked Wilbert for helping her friends,
“I’m more grateful than you can even tell.”
Wendy and her parents smiled at him.
“If you’re ever in need, please let us know,”
she offered, truly meaning every word.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” and he turned to go.
But as he spun to leave, he thought to say,
“Wallaby, may I ask what you are named?”
Wendy smiled knowing this meant he cared,
“It’s Wendy, sir,” she happily proclaimed.
With a quick nod in reply, Wilbert left,
waddling back to his burrow’s front door.
Tidying up after his many guests,
Wilbert dusted and cleaned the walls and floor.
It was hours later when he heard noise,
and the rattling caused such dust to fall!
“I better check what’s going on up there,
I don’t want there to be trouble, that’s all.”
There he found Wendy and her family,
and this had clearly become their home base!
Instead of feeling annoyed with this news,
he smiled to think of sharing this place.
So Wilbert went back down to his burrow,
and he continued to dig through the night.
He really wanted his home big enough,
in case others needed it again, right?
This story is now a picture children’s book, which you can find here on Amazon and other retailers around the world. Interested to hear more about Wilbert and the children’s book series? Learn more here.