Why Epossumondas Has No Hair on His Tail

Overview

Epossumondas has a very important question: "Mama, why don't I have hair on my tail?"

And wouldn't you know it, Mama can tell him exactly why possum tails are all pink and naked and funny looking. Her story's a doozy! It goes way back to Epossumondas's great-great-grandpa, Papapossum. When hungry Papapossum and his growly ol' stomach meet up with wily Hare, cranky Bear, and a persimmon tree . . . well, it's one hair-raisin' adventure!

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Why Epossumondas Has No Hair on His Tail

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Overview

Epossumondas has a very important question: "Mama, why don't I have hair on my tail?"

And wouldn't you know it, Mama can tell him exactly why possum tails are all pink and naked and funny looking. Her story's a doozy! It goes way back to Epossumondas's great-great-grandpa, Papapossum. When hungry Papapossum and his growly ol' stomach meet up with wily Hare, cranky Bear, and a persimmon tree . . . well, it's one hair-raisin' adventure!

Renowned storyteller Coleen Salley and Caldecott Honor illustrator Janet Stevens team up again, drawing on the Uncle Remus tradition and their own wild imaginations to expose a hilarious—and important!—moment in possum history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise and honors for Epossumondas:
"A treasure."—The New York Times Book Review

[star]"Silliness to the hilt . . . Outrageous fun!"—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

[star]"Hilarious."—School Library Journal (starred review)

Bank Street College of Education Irma Simonton and James H. Black Honor
Book Sense 76 Pick
IRA-CBC Children's Choice
Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award

Publishers Weekly
The diapered furry hero and his human mother are back to explain Why Epossumondas Has No Hair on His Tail by Colleen Salley, illus. by Janet Stevens. Here Mama tells a story about Epossumondas's great-great-grandpa, Papapossum, who gobbled persimmons from Bear's tree-and barely escaped the resulting ursine wrath. Gaudily dressed characters with cheery Southern turns of phrase imbue this sequel with charm equal to the first book. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This is a great tale about the opposum's tail, cleverly illustrated by Janet Stevens. The author has made the Southern tale of Epaminondas her trademark story. Epossumondas begins to wonder why all the other neighborhood animals have such nice fluffy tails while his is completely bare, so Mama tells him the tale of his tail. Papa possum had quite an adventure when his hungry stomach led him into a persimmon tree with Hare waiting for a share of the fruit and a cranky bear who believed the tree was his property. Hawaiian style shirts and dress shoes for the bear only add to the charm of the characters. Children may recognize the characters from the previous story. It certainly is a case for making the best of what you have as the clever opposum finds many uses for a longer tale. 2004, Harcourt, Ages 4 to 10.
—Barbara Youngblood
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-In this sequel to Epossumondas (Harcourt, 2002), Papapossum's yearning for Bear's persimmons cost him and all future opossums their once-fluffy tails. Salley has a true storyteller's voice, peppering the text with colorful descriptions and amusing expressions that give the tale an authentic folktale feel. Stevens's large, brightly hued mixed-media illustrations add greatly to the fun, particularly when Papapossum is finding creative uses for his now elongated and naked tail. Scenes with "that sweet little patootie," Epossumondas, comfortably ensconced on his Mama's lap lend an air of coziness to the story. This will be a surefire hit when shared with a group or one-on-one.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Thinking about his long, skinny, and very pink tail, Epossumondas questions why, of all the animal tails he has seen, his is the funniest. Mama Possum spins a story that tells of Papapossum's hungry stomach, a sly rabbit, a tree full of sweet persimmons, and one cranky grizzly bear. Focused on satisfying the urgings of his empty stomach, Papapossum forgets his common sense and eats too many of Bear's persimmons, even after Bear warns him repeatedly of the consequences. When Bear finally does get Papapossum out of the tree, all he can grab is the possum's tail, forever changing the look of every possum from then on. Stevens's bright and whimsical illustrations, full of detail, feature a necktie-wearing bear (bee-pattern, of course), a rabbit in a carrot-festooned shirt, and the return of Epossumondas in his diaper, sitting on Salley's lap as she tells this tale about tails. Those who've heard Salley tell a story can hear her voice in this one, full to bursting with child appeal. Grrrrrrreat. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152049355
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 551,272
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.32 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

COLEEN SALLEY was a professor of children's literature for thirty years and now travels widely as a professional storyteller. The acclaimed picture book Epossumondas is her variation on the traditional Southern tale Epaminondas, which has been her trademark story for decades. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.

JANET STEVENS is the author-illustrator of many popular and award-winning books for children, including the Caldecott Honor Book Tops & Bottoms. She used her friend Coleen Salley as a character model in both Epossumondas stories and in the ABBY Honor Book To Market, To Market. Ms. Stevens lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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