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Inspired by viral online stories during the 2019-2020 wildfires in Australia featuring wombats ‘saving’ other animals taking shelter in their burrows, here is a lyrical story about strangers in need of refuge.

Up on the hill, Wallaby licks a puddle’s last drop. Skink slips into the shade. Echidna hides in grass as dry as tinder. Under the hill, Wombat carves out a cave that’s all his own. Then-KABOOM!-lightning strikes.

Written in simple and concise language perfect for a read aloud, award-winning author Sarah L. Thomson invites readers to see through the eyes of a wombat as the fire rages through Australia. Nearly 3 billion animals were affected by the Australian wildfires of 2020, and wombats played a crucial part in allowing their homes to transform as safe havens for other animals whose homes were destroyed in the fires. Paired with stunning and richly layered art by Charles Santoso, Wombat Underground teaches us that the time of greatest danger is also the time to open our door to those in the greatest need.