Wombat Books is an independent publishing company based out of Australia. Rochelle Manners is Wombat Books’ founder. She is a teacher, author, mother and has a graduate degree in editing and publishing. She is also director of Rhiza Press which is Wombat Books sister company that publishes novels for young adults and adults. Wombat Books works closely with Australian authors both new and well known. Wombat Book publishes children’s picture books, non fiction books, books on faith, and chapter books for children ages 6 and up. They also offer competitions for illustrators to be a part of the Wombat Books illustration team and ask of manuscript submissions from upcoming authors who are interested in publishing their stories. They also have a blog website that is not very active but they have an active Facebook Account where they post regularly.
Jack and Mia by Robert Vescio illustrated by Claire Richards is an adorable story about two friends from different racial backgrounds named Jack and Mia that learn how to remain friends as Mia moves away. This story can be used to teach valuable lessons on friendship, race and a positive way to use technology.
Reading Time Blog: March 13, 2017
Jack and Mia is a sweet story about two young friends who live next door to each other and love to play together. The children enjoy all the traditional childhood games – playing dress-ups and make believe, building a cardboard cubby, card games and putting on impromptu concerts for their mums.
Then Mia’s family moves away. Jack is sad but, this is a modern book and, Queensland author Robert Vescio shows that today’s technology can help bridge the distance. The Internet means the two friends can actually see each other online. And so they talk, play and laugh together in a whole new way, as well as share drawings and photographs from across the world.
Jack and Mia can be a light read or a prompt for discussion about topics such as friendship, inclusivity, vaccinations and careers. The two main characters are obviously different genders and they have also been illustrated with different coloured skin, yet they “fit together like a puzzle“. If you have a youngster due for their next immunisations, they may be able to relate to the story when Mia and Jack both get sick with red spots (perhaps it’s chicken pox?). And when Mia is waved off, her dad is wearing army greens, so there’s an opportunity for discussion about the demands of particular jobs or the importance of the armed forces.
South Australian illustrator Claire Richards has created bright, fun and colourful pictures that fill the pages, with plenty of inspiration for childhood games and play.
My 8-tear-old twin girls had already read this book at school before I pulled it out at home and were happy to hear it over again. Little Man, 4, liked it too.
GoodReads: October 2016
Jack and Mia is a charming story about friendship. It is told in simple language, which includes enough stylistic quirks to lift the story into individuality. It is by turns happy, sad, and then joyous as Jack and Mia, with help from their sympathetic parents, manage to come together for play dates despite living half a world away from one another. Claire Richards has drawn affectionate slightly Quentin-Blake-like pictures that suggest children’s drawings while still showing her professional touch.
I agree that this book is a great book about friendship. What’s cool is the modern touch on the story. Technology is important in children’s lives and shows how communication even miles a part is just as simple as a phone call away or a video call away. I believe that the Reading Time blog is more descriptive while the Good Reads blog has elements of critique. Reading Time did a great job explaining the different lessons that can be taught from Jack and Mia as well as letting the reader know how the writer’s own children responded to the book. The Good Reads review does not give as much detail as the Reading Time Review. I wanted to dig deeper into more about how Sally felt about the story’s style and why she felt so. She could have also gave more examples into the usage of language.
Vescio, R., & Richards, C. (2016). Jack and Mia. Capalaba B.c., Qld.: Wombat Books.