"What a delightful picture book. Competition, collaboration, wombats! The illustrations are bold and hilarious, the text is full of humor and heart. Like the wombats, they work together to make something wonderful."
"This rollicking fable will resonate with aficionados, dilettantes, and prodigies everywhere... Tep’s encouraging message about doing what you love despite not being the greatest of all time will spur children to explore life’s joys just for the pleasure it brings. (Regardless of cheeky parachuting wombats.)"
"Wally the World’s Greatest Piano-Playing Wombat is a charming story about competitiveness and creativity, told with sly humor and wit. It definitely resonated with us as artists, and its message will resonate with any budding artist, musician, or competitive creative. Both the illustrations and text are a delight."
– THE FAN BROTHERS, authors/illustrators of the 2021 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Book It Fell From the Sky
"What a book. What a wombat! Wally is a wonder. Forget the piano, his true greatness is that he is every creative kid and adult everywhere. Through Tep’s humorous text and Pintonato’s hilarious illustrations, Wally reminds us all that we don’t have to be the greatest in the world at our creative pursuits to find the greatest joy in pursuing them."
– Jarrett Pumphrey, co-author/illustrator of The Old Truck, a 2020 Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly
Art by Camilla Pintonato
AUTHOR | JOURNALIST | STORYTELLER
Ratha Tep is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, where she's written cover features for the Travel section on Virginia Woolf’s childhood in Cornwall and Truman Capote’s early years along the Mediterranean. She's also hunted down the best boeuf bourguignon in Burgundy for a cover story for The Wall Street Journal's Off Duty section, and has written about, among other things, hobbit holes in Switzerland, W. B. Yeats, and popcorn. Wally the World's Greatest Piano-Playing Wombat (Princeton Architectural Press, October 2022) is her debut picture book.
Ratha created Max's Boat as a deep-dive into the world of picture books. Each week, one picture book writer or illustrator will share their favorite picture books and explain their picks in an interview.