Epossumondas Plays Possum

Overview

Epossumondas is the silliest, most lovable possum south of the Mason-Dixon line. In his fourth book, will he still be his mama’s sweet little patootie if he heads into the swamp, just where Mama told him not to go? After all, the swamp is home to the fearsome and legendary loup-garou! Epossumondas isn’t a naughty  possum, but he sure is forgetful, and into the swamp he goes. There he meets all manner of scary creatures—but are any of them the loup-garou? And will he ever make it home to Mama? Maybe he will, ...

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Overview

Epossumondas is the silliest, most lovable possum south of the Mason-Dixon line. In his fourth book, will he still be his mama’s sweet little patootie if he heads into the swamp, just where Mama told him not to go? After all, the swamp is home to the fearsome and legendary loup-garou! Epossumondas isn’t a naughty  possum, but he sure is forgetful, and into the swamp he goes. There he meets all manner of scary creatures—but are any of them the loup-garou? And will he ever make it home to Mama? Maybe he will, as long as he remembers to do what possums do best: play possum.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Salley’s storytelling remains peerless in this fourth tale of the adorable little possum . . . Once again, Stevens captures both characters with humor and affection: Mama with her generous mouth and flowered dress, vivid as life itself; the fecklessly crafty adventurer, pink-toed and diapered . . . With or without its enticing illustrations, a perfect story to share aloud."--Horn Book

Publishers Weekly
In the late Salley's last picture book, the fourth to feature Epossumondas and his Mama, Mama warns the possum to steer clear of the swamp because the dreaded “loup-garou snatches [possums] right up with its big ugly claws!” But Epossumondas follows a butterfly into the eerie swamplands, where a series of threatening animals pass by Epossumondas, who plays dead. Rich with Southern flavor—when Epossumondas returns from the swamp, Mama exclaims, “You don't have the sense you were born with! You gotta run away from those fearsome critters, too!”—it's an immersive piece of storytelling. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Epossumondas, the cuddly but somewhat dim possum hero of Salley's tales from the South, has been warned by his mama to stay out of the swamp. There, she says, "waiting for little possums like you" is the dreaded loup-garou, ready to snatch. But Epossumondas cannot resist following a beautiful butterfly right into the swamp. Lost, he hears the scary snarl, "Rrrrrrrrrr!" of what may be the loup-garou. He does what possums do best: play dead. The creature moves on, disinterested. What we see is a swamp cat that our hero dismisses as nothing compared to the dreaded loup-garou. He deals the same way with the "Ssssssss!" of a snake and the "Snort!" of a hog. Picked up by a buzzard, he is too ticklish to play dead, and the bird drops him. When he is finally found and embraced by his loving mama, she is shocked to hear of his encounters, but glad that her "clever little patootie" had the sense to do what he was trained to do. We can almost hear the voice of the storyteller in the vernacular of the humorous text. Stevens introduces the possum pair on the book's cover, showing Mama in her flowered hat, print dress and blue-framed glasses, smiling down on her diapered anthropomorphic darling. The end pages, smothered in Mama's flowers, carry on the happy feeling. On the title page spread, the two sit on the porch almost dwarfed by woodsy swamp. They come alive in Stevens' mixed media art, which is illustrated "with selected effects created with the brushes of Obsidian Dawn" in the adventures on the large double-page spreads. A note adds information on both possums and the loup-garou. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4—In this series, a diapered possum child with a human mama reenacts Southern folktales with flair and gusto. Here, Mama warns the little guy to stay out of the swamp, where the scary loup-garou awaits. Distracted by a pretty butterfly, Epossumondas enters the swamp anyway. He never meets the werewolf, but he encounters one dangerous predator after another. Luckily, instinct kicks in and he plays possum, thus being rejected by creatures who "don't eat no dead meat." When a carcass-eating buzzard comes along, Epossumondas is saved by his own ticklishness—the horrified bird drops him, crying "I never, ever eat no live meat!" The folksy text lives and breathes like a storytelling performance. Epossumondas and his mama have so much character that this unlikely family is quite believable. The sketchy, mixed-media illustrations convey the humor of the antics while providing a fairly realistic depiction of Louisiana swampland and its inhabitants. As always, Stevens has portrayed Epossumondas's mama as a Salley double, bringing the storyteller into her own tale. Funny, scary, and clever, this story has everything it needs for broad kid appeal.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Kirkus Reviews
That adorable diaper-clad scalawag is back, doing what he does best. Mama cautions Epossumondas not to go into the swamp where the horrible loup-garou could snatch him right up. But when a pretty butterfly flies by, Epossumondas can't help himself and runs after it-right into the swamp, where he promptly gets lost. Each time he hears a scary snarl, hiss or snort, he plays possum and the swamp critters leave him alone because they "don't eat no dead meat." When the swamp buzzard snatches him up, though, Epossumondas squirms, and the bird promptly drops him saying, "I never, ever eat no live meat." When Mama finds her "clever little patootie," they head home for sweet tea. As in the previous three books, Stevens's comical, mixed-media illustrations depict Mama as the spittin' image of the late Salley, and the telling has her storytelling rhythm and voice, as well as her vivid personality. It's a fitting tribute that her last book finds her baby winking at the audience while playing dead. Farewell, Epossumondas; we'll miss you. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152064204
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/19/2009
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 491,176
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

COLEEN SALLEY (1929-2008) was a beloved New Orleans storyteller, author, and children's book advocate well known for telling tales from her native South. www.coleensalley.com

JANET STEVENS, a Caldecott Honor winner, is the creator of many bestselling picture books. She lives in Boulder, Colorado. www.janetstevens.com 

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