Top positive review
One person found this helpful
Wombles Recyling And Having Adventures In Series' First Book
on 8 November 2016
I've just read this aloud to my seven-year-old son, and he wants the rest of the series, of which this is the first book. Reading age 8+ years.
The Wombles are like a furry hippie commune. They are vegetarian, never lie, share all their possessions with each other, and aim for total self-sufficiency by living off the rubbish they collect and recycle and the natural foods they find (nettles, mushrooms etc.) from their home: London's Wimbledon Common. Very 1960s. They choose their names from an atlas of the world, and this first book involves the adventures of three of the Wombles who have just reached adulthood and started working: boisterous Bungo, greedy and sleepy Orinoco, and athletic but not too bright Tomsk. We're introduced to about nine months of their life as they are chased by dogs, blown up into the sky by large umbrellas, save the Womble burrow from landslides, and survive a harsh winter of snow and food shortages, but still find time to learn golf and skiing, and have splendid parties at Christmas and Midsummer Eve. They are frequently astonished by Human Beings, and Ms Beresford makes some very amusing observations about our own species via their comments.
Great Uncle Bulgaria, the oldest Womble is in charge; Tobermory runs the workshop and the litter patrols, and Madame Cholet runs the kitchens. The gender roles do have a little fluidity over the course of the books. In this first one, Orinoco has a trial week in the kitchens (which he fails), so there could have been a male chef in the making, and the young female Womble Alderney is there to train as a skilled cook. In later books, we are introduced to Miss Adelaide, who runs the Wombles school and is in charge of academia in general, and Shansi, a young female Womble who joins the litter patrol and then becomes the burrow's resident artist.
Once my son had grasped that Wombles don't actually exist ("Uhhhh!"), he became very involved in the story, because though it is a fantasy, it is a very down-to-earth and solid fantasy, with lots of practical-minded characters who make things and fix things and get problems solved. Tobermory even manages to build a full-size clockwork car from bits found lying around. There isn't a better book in children's literature that promotes the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" messages of today.