Wombat cuddles

 Name: Karen Hendriks

Manuscript type: Wombat Cuddles Picture Book

Story Outline:  The story originated from a driving trip to the snow and after seeing the large number of wombats that were killed at night on our roads.  I researched wombat facts and then looked at images when I stumbled upon Tonka’s story and knew that I had to share it.  A car killed Tonka’s mother and he was taken to the Billabong Sanctuary in Townsville where he still lives.  The orphaned little wombat is now 7 years old and still sleeps with his look a like teddy. He experienced cyclone Yasi at the Sanctuary. Somehow he survived and was traumatised again.  Tonka need human comfort as well as his teddy.



Wombat Cuddles    by Karen Hendriks                        

Inside a soft, warm pouch nuzzled a baby wombat round and small.

His name was Tonka.   Tonka slept peacefully tucked away safely inside.  

As Tonka’s mum was foraging for grass headlights pierced the starry night.  A loud screech filled the air followed by a deadly silence.  Tonka’s world was shattered.  Warm hands pulled Tonka out of the pouch and into the dusky, nightglow. They gently placed him into a warm woollen beanie.  But where was his mum? 

 Shocked and stressed Tonka was taken to the Townsville Billabong Sanctuary and given peace and quiet in a warm box.

If only Tonka had something to comfort him thought his handlers.  He was given lots of human cuddles but to give comfort when he was alone a cuddly, snuggly wombat teddy arrived. The wombat teddy filled his heart with comfort.   Everywhere that Tonka went his wombat teddy went too. His strong teeth kept a tight grip. The stocky, little wombat now felt safe and loved at the park.

Every morning the keepers gave soothing scratches and wombat cuddles to Tonka.  The little wombat learnt to walk in a harness around the park.  Tonka starred in the wombat shows. He was filled with bravo and confidence.

Then one day, the air felt dangerous, the weather had changed into a nasty monster.  The roaring, lashing, gnawing wind grew stronger and stronger, louder and louder. Tonka bunkered down in his enclosure as the rain pelted, crashing and roaring was everywhere; the wind was like the sting of a million bees.  Tonka was trapped. His heart was beating as fast as a hummingbird’s wings. 

Tonka was found badly shaken with his wombat teddy.  He needed much more than his teddy.  Tonka needed human cuddles but everyone was too busy rebuilding and fixing the park.  There was no time for wombat cuddles, wombat walks or wombat shows!  

Tonka was fed and watered but he felt all broken inside.  Withdrawn and unable to eat Tonka hid.  Not even a juicy carrot could tempt him. 

Slowly the park came back to life, once again Tonka went on wombat walks as the sunlight danced and played with the shadows along the path.  Loud applause rippled through the air at the wombat shows.  His wombat teddy was never far away. 

Every morning Tonka has comforting wombat scratches and cuddles Then Tonka and his wombat teddy curl together in the soft grass for a dreamy sleep.  


True story. Tonka recently passed away.

Karen Hendriks
True Story?: