Sunday, July 18, 2010

From a Land Down Under: Possum Magic

I first encountered the wonderful Australian children's author, Mem Fox, while doing my student teaching prac in Brisbane several years ago. The kids in my class loved her stories and we now own several of them. Fox has a gentle way about her writing that makes her stories sweet and endearing. Julie Vivas, an Australian artist who has collaborated with Fox on several books, uses detailed watercolour drawings to bring the text to life.

Possum Magi
c (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, August 1990) is the tale of two possums, Grandma Poss and her granddaughter, Hush. Grandma Poss uses her magical powers to make Hush invisible so that she will not be eaten by the local snakes. However, one day, Hush decides she wants to become visible again and Grandma Poss can't remember the spell to reverse her magic. She knows it has something to do with an authentic Australian food but can't remember which one. Hush and Grandma Poss embark upon a long trip around Australia to discover the antidote. It turns out each food she tries on each stop of the journey uncovers a different part of Hush's body and Hush is able to discover her whole self once more.

If you've ever visited Australia this story will take you back to sweet memories of Anzac biscuits, pavlova and Lamingtons. And the vegemite sandwich...well, maybe not so much.

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