Willie Wombat's Walk
by Sandra Swain

"'I wasn't invited either,' Willie said brightening up a bit. 'Let's go play.'"

In this book for young readers, Willie feels that he was not invited to Tom Cat's party because he and his family have just arrived from Australia. To counter his feelings of sadness and rejection, Willie's mom suggests that he get some fresh air by going for a walk. Willie goes reluctantly. Along the way, he meets Stephanie Squirrel, Natalie Gnat, Owlivia (an owl), Aidan Alligator, Brandon Bear, Liam Lion, Emma Elephant, and Owen Octopus. Each one believes that they weren't invited because of some physical characteristic or trait. Each one also thinks that they have been the only one excluded from the party. However, the true reason is the number of guests allowed is limited, not exclusion because of personal traits. All are invited to Willie's house, where Willie's wise mom has baked a banana cake. The classmates eat and play, as they realize that they have made their own party.

A good tale about the hazards of assumption and the benefits of constructive alternatives to barriers, this book uses helpful literary formulas to which modern touches are added. Circumstances sometimes limit group numbers. For safety's sake, not everyone can attend the same party, but alternatives are available if one creates them. Children are taught that a negative impression is not necessarily an accurate one, and useful information may be learned by going for a walk, talking to friends, and inviting two or more groups to have parties in different locations. In a sense, the dual parties are happening together. Each group builds friendship, and the members learn that they are included and welcomed.

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