Wally the World’s Greatest Piano-Playing Wombat

Wally the World’s Greatest Piano-Playing Wombat
Ratha Tep and Camilla Pintonato
Princeton Architectural Press

Making music at every opportunity, Wally is, so he thinks, the world’s greatest piano-playing wombat; but then he encounters Wylie Wombat and then he isn’t. So he adds another element to his musical performance and so begins an intense rivalry: the two musical wombats, become increasingly competitive as they vie to be best musical wombat in the world. Tap dancing – while playing the piano – tick! Twirling a ball on snout—while tap dancing and playing the piano – tick! With that Wally loses it crying “ENOUGH!” He covers his piano and takes refuge in his burrow. No more piano playing for him; instead his life becomes a quiet one of reading, knitting and pet keeping. But does he find that satisfying? No. Wally greatly misses his music making, the thing he most loves.

One night, Wally hears a noise outside his burrow. What is his rival doing there? What Wylie is in fact doing in offering an olive branch in the form of chocolate chip cookies carefully laid out on a blanket.

Playing solo, he tells Wally, is far less enjoyable.

Picnic over, the two move to Wally’s piano and play a duet. Wow! This is such fun; so fuelled by chocolate chip cookies, they practise and practise until together they become the world’s best piano-playing wombats ever.

But then, they aren’t.

So which is preferable: being best at something or doing it because it brings you joy? That’s the question Ratha Tep poses for young audiences, who will be entranced by watching Wally’s emotion-filled learning journey in Camilla Pintonato’s scenes, which are in turn passionate and pricelessly silly.

A fun fable that takes a look at the world of competition, wombat style.

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