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Wombat Stew  Author

Wombat Stew

Author: Marcia K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Pamela Lofts
ISBN: 1865044482
Summary: Wily, wild Dingo dog catches a poor, woebegone Wombat and decides to make Wombat stew. But the other animals try to save Wombat by insisting that the stew will not be complete without blops of mud (says Platypus), feathers (says Emu), flies (suggests lizard), ``slugs and bugs and creepy crawlies'' (says Echidna), and gumnuts (says Koala). Much to the animals' delight, the concoction tastes so terrible that Dingo howls and runs away, never again to sing about ``yummy, chewy, Wombat stew.''

Unit Prepared by Sharon Pickard

by Sharon, Wende, and Ami

Friends Accordion Book

Word Cards and Pocket

Short Vowel Minit Book

Vocabulary Layer Book

Plot Triangle Book

Flag of Australia Minit Book

Names for Australia
HWOT font
Primary font

Who Am I Cards and Pocket

I Can Taste Minit Book

Marsupial "Pouch" Book

Koala Blank Book

Possible Cover Page

Australian Animals Layer Books


Good Friends
The other animals were good friends to wombat,  they saved his life.  Discuss with your child what makes a good friend.  You may want to refer to some stories in the Bible of good friends-- Jonathan and David are a good example of friendship (you may also want to discuss Ruth and Naomi).

Friends Accordion Book


Choral Reading
After a few readings of this book, your student should be able to "read" some parts along with you.  Be sure to pause to indicate where your student should chime in with the right phrase.   Use your finger under the words (as a guide) to show your student the words that you are reading together. 

Fun with Words
Isn't this book fun to read?  Enjoy language with your student.  Go back through the story together and search for all the words that end with ‘y’.  

brewy chewy lumpy crunchy munchy muddy
yummy gooey billy creepy spicy chilly
toothy snappy cracky tummy chappy blacky

Using the prepared word cards, let your student sort the words with similar vowel sounds.
1.  brewy, chewy, gooey, toothy
2.  lumpy, crunchy, munchy, muddy, yummy
3.  billy, chilly
4.  snappy, cracky, chappy, blacky 

Discuss the words with your student.  Are they "real" words?  No!  Some of them are made up.  Encourage your student to make up some words, too.  Let him add them to the similar vowel lists (if you completed that activity).   You can extend this activity by helping your student write his own rhyming verses similar to the ones found in Wombat Stew

Lapbook Activity-
Short Vowel Minit Book

Recipe Writing
Have your child dictate how to make wombat stew (make sure to record this for her if she can't write yet).  Another fun option would be to let your student invent a recipe for something she KNOWS she won't like.  If you are making a lapbook, you may want to include these recipes in a pocket.

Memory /Listmaking
Can you remember what each animal added to the stew?  Make a list.  You can use this Prepared Worksheet.  For a younger child (who doesn't write), you could cut the animals off the worksheet and paste them on to a new page.  Let the child draw next to the animal-- what that animal added to the stew.

Use the pre-made vocabulary cards to review/learn the words.  You can put these in a pocket (in your lapbook or scrapbook) or into a file box.  We use a small file box; each story we read, we make a card that includes a picture, a description of the vocabulary word, and the name of the story we are sharing. You can file these cards in alphabetical order and play games with them.   We play a listening game.  I introduce the words and meanings before we read the story.  Then, I set the cards out in front of my student.  When he hears me read a word, he picks up the card and hands it to me and we review what the word means. 
Vocabulary Cards for file box
Vocabulary Layered Book for lapbook


Introducing Verbs (Action Words)
The author includes different ways that each animal moves.  Look at the text and point out these words.   Tell your student that these action words have a special name-- verbs.  Action verbs tell us what the character is doing. 

Examples from the story:
Emu—waltzing, arched
Platypus—ambling, scooped
Lizard—sliding, snapped
Echidna—popped, bristled
Koala—climbed, shook
Dingo—danced, sang

You may want to act out these words with your student to help him remember that verbs are ACTION words.  You could also give your student brief commands: run, sit, stand, walk, sing, dance, etc.  Then log your activity on paper.  Autumn sang.  Autumn ran.  Autumn danced in the living room.  Ask your student to tell you what word in the sentence is the action verb. 

This is a simple story, but it includes (as all good stories do) a plot.  Review or introduce the concept of plot. 
Conflict- The problem is what we call the conflict.  What is the conflict in this story? (Dingo is going to eat Wombat!)
Rising Action-  The events created by the problem.  How the characters) try to solve the problem.  What is the rising action in this story? (Wombat's friends add yucky ingredients to the stew)
Climax- The most exciting moment of the story!  What is the climax? (The stew is icky and Dingo is not going to be able to eat it!)
Resolution (or Denouement)- The final solution to the problem; the way the story ends.  How does this story end?  What is resolved? (Wombat is saved!)

Plot Bookmarks from FIAR Circle
Lapbook Component:  Plot Triangle Book

Alliteration is repetition of the same initial consonant sound.  Some writers choose alliteration because it can make a text more fun to read; others may choose it because the repetition of sound helps the reader remember.  Point out the examples of alliteration to your younger student.  Let your older student find them herself:

Some examples from the text:
Big blobs and billabong mud
Bright Blue-Tongue
Creepy crawlies
Sliding of his sun soaked stone

Poetry Extension Lesson


Geography: Australia
Locate Australia on a map or globe.  Make a map marker (a round circle with a picture that reminds you of the story-- maybe a wombat?)
Australia is the sixth-largest country in the world. It is an island located in the Southern Hemisphere, between the Indian Ocean and the Southern Pacific Ocean.  It's nickname is "the Land Down Under" and the capital of Australia is Canberra.   Australia is also home to The Great Barrier Reef-- 1,000 miles of beautiful sea life including corals, sea anemones, sea stars, fish, sea slugs, giant clams, seaweed, and sharks.

Map of Australia and Quiz
About Australia
Australian Flag

About Australia by Australian children

Lapbook Components:  Flag of Australia Minit Book

Names for Australia minit book
HWOT font
Primary font

Dingo Fence
The main character in this story is a dingo.  Dingo’s have caused so much trouble for farmers that a huge fence was built across part of Australia to keep the dingo’s out.  The fence is 5320kms long and is the longest fence in the world (the great wall of china is approximately 5,000kms long).  The fence goes through 3 states.

It is called the Barrier Fence in Queensland (approx 2500kms), Border Fence in New South Wales (approx 584kms) and the Dog Fence in South Australia (approx 2225kms).

The fence is 180cm (6feet) high.  It is made of wire mesh which extends for 30cm (1 foot) below the ground.  The fence is cleared to 5m on either side of the fence.  There are star pickets every 9 meters (10yards).  Originally the fence was maintained by the farmers but due to economic reasons it started to fall into disrepair.  Today each section is the responsibility of the state government.

Here is a photo of the dingo fence, and a map of Australia with the fence marked.  Please use to add to a report on the dingo fence or how ever you want.

More information


Australian Animals
Take some time to study each animal.  The animals in Wombat Stew are native to Australia and so found only in Australia.    You can learn facts about each animal on the Who Am I Cards.  Print up the Who Am I Cards on cardstock, colour if you want to and laminate.  Place the cards on the table writing side up.  Read out the clues and try to guess turn over to see the picture and check to see if you were right.

Learn even more from Enchanted Learning:
Blue tongue Lizard

more information about Australian Animals

Lapbook Component: Dingo Layer Book

Animal Classification
If you are making animal classification cards, you get to add some Australian animals from this story.  Use the cards provided or make your own.
Animal Classification Cards 

If your student has studied animal classification before, you may want to help him make a chart to classify the animals found in this story (note:  two groups of vertebrates-- fish and amphibians-- have not been included on the chart). 

Birds Mammals Mammals-Marsupials Mammals-Monotremes Reptiles

Your student might like to learn more about Monotremes (they lay eggs but feed their young milk when they hatch).  The duck-billed platypus and the spiny anteater (or Echidna) are both are in this category.  Both of these animals are unique and found only in Australia and New Guinea.  


Australian Animal Reports
Let your student research more to find out about the animals included in this story.  Each form listed below has a three information boxes; one for anatomy, one for habitat, and one for diet (or your student can add other things instead).  
Prepared Report Forms


Lesson originally written for Stone Soup
Whether or not your child realizes it, making stew is a lesson in chemistry. Stew is a mixture, which is the combining of two or more substances in varying proportions, in which the original components retain their original chemical properties. In other words, when you put carrots, cabbage, and beef into a soup, you still end up with carrots, cabbage and beef after you cook the soup. A mixture is different than a compound in that a compound is two or more substances that combined, make a new substance. Have your child identify each ingredient in the soup before and after it is cooked. 

Taste Buds
Would your student like to taste wombat stew?  (NO!)  Why do some things taste good while other things taste bad?   You can thank your taste buds.  Taste buds are sensory organs found on the tongue they allow you to taste the sweet, bitter, salty, and sour flavors of your food.  Have your student go look at his tongue in a mirror.  Can he see all the bumps?  The bumps are called
papillae (puh-pih-lee) and contain taste buds (about 10,000!).  Taste buds havevery sensitive microscopic hairs called microvilli (mye-kro-vih-lye). Those tiny hairs send messages to the brain about how something tastes.   Source

Lapbook Activity:  I Can Taste Book

Taste Buds Tongue


Look at the pictures; they are drawn with pencil or crayon. Can your child determine which medium is used where?

Facial Expressions
The expressions on the animal’s faces are animated.  Ask your child what the expressions show. 

Illustrator Study
Pamela Lofts also illustrated Koala Lou by Mem Fox.  If you can, get a copy of Koala Lou and compare and contrast the illustrations.


Measurement in Cooking
Make a stew.  Let your student help with the measuring of the ingredients.  Have your older student recopy the recipe and "double" it; he will need to use fraction multiplication to accomplish this task. 


Act out wombat stew and make up your own dance. 

Make a stew for dinner, but leave out the wombat!  :)   If you are lapbooking this book, include photos of cooking and the finished product.  Write out the recipe you used and add to any other recipes you might have collected (see language arts and Maths).  Maybe you could find a copy of Stone Soup and read this.  There are a few different versions of this folk story around you can read one on line.  Here is another version.  This story adds to the working together theme seen in wombat stew – the animals worked together to save wombat, in stone soup if all work together all are fed.

There is also a Wombat Stew Cookbook available .  We got ours from Scholastic in Australia; I had a quick look on Amazon, and it looks like it is rare in America. My suggestion would be Ebay Australia for anyone interested in it.  We love our copy.

For a special treat make an Australian Lamington (also affectionately known as a "lammy").

More Animal Activities
Australian Animals Coloring Book
Make a climbing koala
Listen to a kookaburra
About Australia
Unscramble the words Wombat Stew Puzzle

There isn't one bird named in the story but who appears on nearly every page?  Can you find it?

Library List
One Woolly Wombat by Kerry Argent
Possum Magic by Mem Fox
Sail Away, the Ballad of Skip and Nell by Mem Fox
Wombat Divine by Mem Fox (this is a Christmas story)
Stone Soup by Ann McGovern
Wombat Goes Walkabout by Michael Morpurgo
Koala Lou by Mem Fox