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The Princess and the Pig

Illustrated by Mark Chambers

Wanda Wallaby can't find her bounce!
She asks all the other animals but no one can help. Until, that is, she meets the crocodile – whose advice has a remarkable effect on the innocent Wanda.

"Witty drawings in a fun story
with a punchline that will make you smile."

Martin Chilton, THE TELEGRAPH

"A clever, funny book for age three and upwards."


Read these and other reviews


UK Paperback • ISBN-10: 1408818396 • ISBN-13: 978-1408818398



US Paperback • ISBN-10: 1408818396 • ISBN-13: 978-1408818398

Visit the Stories from the Zoo website


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VignetteThe story of Wanda Wallaby was inspired by an illustration by Steve Cox that showed a wallaby and several other animals scampering through the Australian jungle. A publisher Steve showed the illustration to thought it could be developed into a picture book, but Steve didn’t have a story to go with it, so I was asked if I could write something. Unfortunately the publisher didn’t take either of the two stories I came up with, so I filed them away and forgot about them.

Stealing an idea

Wanda's story was originally inspired by this wallaby illustration by Steve Cox. I liked the crafty crocodile in this illustration so much, I wrote him into another picture book, The Treasure of Captain Claw, which Steve illustrated. Illustration © Steve Cox 2004

Then, five years later, my agent passed on a request for animal stories for a series of books that Bloomsbury were publishing in association with London Zoo. This reminded me of the wallaby stories and when I dug them out and re-read them I thought that, with a little redrafting, the second story I’d written would fit the brief very nicely – and fortunately Bloomsbury thought so too!

An underlying theme in the story is the five senses. At the beginning of the story, Wanda asks her father what her bounce “looks” like and the other four animals in the story were chosen to characterise each of the other four senses. So the long-nosed anteater asks what her bounce “smells” like, big-eared bat what it “sounds” like, the big-pawed mole what it “feels” like and the big-mouthed crocodile what it “tastes” like.

Stealing an idea

All of the animals in the story are native to Australia, which is why Mark's illustrations show the Mole as one of the blonde marsupial variety instead of one of the darker varieties found elsewhere.

Because the book was being published in association with the Zoo, the story had to be approved by them and they were understandably particular about the zoological details. They pointed out that the “anteater” is a South American species and requested that it be replaced with a native Australian animal such as a wombat, koala or emu, none of which had the characteristic large nose needed for the story’s five senses theme. Fortunately I had done my homework and was able to explain that the echidna, commonly known as the “spiny anteater” was native to Australia, but I’d used a shortened version of its common name as “echidna” was rather an awkward word for a picture book.

The book was illustrated by Mark Chambers who has worked with the Zoo on a number of projects including the illustrations for the Zoo’s Animal Adventure exhibit and the online Animal Adventure game, which you can play here.


Illustrations © 2012 Mark Chambers. Reproduced by permission of Bloomsbury Children's Books.


Another good animal-based tale, part of a fine series by ZLS London Zoo, is Wanda Wallaby Finds Her Bounce by Jonathan Emmett (illustrated by Mark Chambers) which has witty drawings in a fun story with a punchline that will make you smile.

Martin Chilton, THE TELEGRAPH

The repetitious language is well judged for the age group – simple without being banal – and it complements the lively pictures beautifully. A great picture book to enjoy and share.

Margaret Mallet, BOOKS FOR KEEPS

A clever, funny book for age three and upwards.


The watercolour illustrations are captivating and engaging for small eyes, and Wanda really does appear to move through the story. Another interesting aspect is the use of all 5 senses through the story - Wanda asks the animals what her bounce might look, smell, sound, feel and taste like. This would be a good entry point to further explore and discover the 5 senses with young readers ... This book really is a lovely one, with a humorous twist at the end, which small readers will enjoy. Recommended.

Freya Lucas, READPLUS

Mark Chambers sensitive outline holds the images in a landscape of textures, and the actions are transparently clear; tiny white winged flies dance on each frame and finding them could be a little game to play as the pages turn. The endpaper shows the animals, all Australian, which are featured in the story, with brief details about each one. The young reader can then well understand how the animal's natural behaviour is embedded in the tale.