Riley has discovered a wombat in his nanny’s garden. But why is this furry creature so grumpy? Riley sets off to investigate why the wombat is so unhappy.

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat is the fourth book in the popular Riley series written by Tania McCartney and illustrated by Kieron Pratt.

Riley’s latest adventure takes readers on a tour through some of Melbourne and Victoria’s best-loved places – and some of mine, too.

Riley and his friends visit Lygon Street, Bourke Street, Flinders Street Station, Sovereign Hill and many other iconic sights in search of the Grumpy Wombat which seems to need their help.

Although they are full of wonderful black and white photos and vibrant illustrations, the Riley books are not your standard picture books.

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat is a travelogue with clear educational benefits, but it also features endearing characters and an engaging story line. I really enjoyed the language in this book and the way the author imparts knowledge, but doesn’t talk down to readers.

Riley’s amazing array of gadgets will appeal to young readers. Some of his equipment includes exceptional wombat seeking telescopes, a grumpy wombat search net and automated whiz-bang ground hugging projectiles – and that’s not to mention his cute red plane.

The illustrations by illustrator and cartoonist, Kieron Pratt are humorous and vibrant and will also help engage young readers. I found the smiling wombats skiing on Mount Hotham irresistible.

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat is published by Ford Street Publishing. Other books in the Riley series include Riley and the Sleeping Dragon, Riley and the Dancing Lion and Riley and the Curious Koala.

Riley has toured around Beijing, Hong Kong, Sydney and now Melbourne – next stop, Canberra. I can see Riley and his friends injecting life into a geography lesson.

The Riley books are written for readers aged 6 to 10 years.



Published by

Dee White

Dee White lives with her husband and two sons in a small rural country town which has more kangaroos than people. She has worked as an advertising copywriter and journalist and has had numerous career changes because until recently, writing wasn’t considered to be a proper job. Letters to Leonardo, her first novel with Walker Books Australia, was published in 2009 to great critical acclaim.


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