Why the Possum Has a Large Grin

Overview

This traditional Choctaw tale has been adapted by the talented singer/songwriter Johnette Downing. Her hilarious narrative of sly Possum's manipulative ways will have children grinning from ear to ear. From the moment the very hungry Deer spies fat Possum lolling about beneath a persimmon tree, Possum begins to plot. While Possum could certainly help out the starving Deer, he's just too lazy! Why not make Deer do all the work? Possum tricks Deer into getting the persimmons out ...
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Overview

This traditional Choctaw tale has been adapted by the talented singer/songwriter Johnette Downing. Her hilarious narrative of sly Possum's manipulative ways will have children grinning from ear to ear. From the moment the very hungry Deer spies fat Possum lolling about beneath a persimmon tree, Possum begins to plot. While Possum could certainly help out the starving Deer, he's just too lazy! Why not make Deer do all the work? Possum tricks Deer into getting the persimmons out of the tree and the experience marks both of them forever.
Told in rhythmic verse reminiscent of classic Bre'r Rabbit tales, the story is accompanied by clever illustrations that bring it vividly to life. Poor Deer and silly Possum will never be the same!

Johnette Downing is an award-winning, internationally recognized singer and songwriter. Her many accolades include six Parents' Choice Awards, four iParenting Media Awards, and four National Parenting Publication Awards. She wrote and illustrated There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Bugs, My Aunt Came Back from Louisiane, Why the Crawfish Lives in the Mud, and Amazon Alphabet and is the author of Chef Creole, Down in Louisiana, Why the Oyster Has the Pearl, Today Is Monday in Louisiana, Today Is Monday in Texas, Today Is Monday in New York, and Today Is Monday in Kentucky. Downing lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Christina Wald specializes in illustration and toy, giftware, and product design. Wald graduated from the University of Cincinnati from the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, with a BS in industrial design. She is the illustrator of Pelican's Annie Jump Cannon, Astronomer. Wald lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Possum convinces hungry Deer to bang his head into a tree full of ripe persimmons, a sight that amuses the trickster so much that his grin sticks forever. Downing (Why the Crawfish Lives in the Mud, 2009) adapts this Choctaw legend, extending the narrative and adding an embellishment. Not only does Possum get a grin, the bumps that rise on Deer's battered head grow into antlers--two origin stories in one. The author begins her tale in a traditional storyteller's manner: "Sometime past, there was one long, long, very long dry season north of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana." Hints of dialect continue--"go to the top of that there hill"; "hit this here persimmon tree so hard"; and so forth--but, surprisingly given the experience of the writer, a longtime children's musician and entertainer, her narrative feels forced. It doesn't flow smoothly as a read-aloud, and the story arc is flat. Wald's lifelike acrylic paintings focus on the two main characters, often placed against a plain background. They show well. But this Possum has little personality. For a possum pourquoi tale with real child appeal, choose Colleen Salley's Why Epossumondas Has No Hair on His Tail, illustrated by Janet Stevens (2004). Finally, the title lacks the customary background and source information usually provided about traditional material. Nothing to smile about. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455616398
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/14/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 963,347
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Johnette Downing is an award-winning and internationally recognized singer and songwriter. Her many accolades include eight Parents' Choice Awards, four iParenting Media Awards, and four National Parenting Publication Awards. She wrote and/or illustrated There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Bugs, Why the Crawfish Lives in the Mud, How to Dress a Po' Boy, Why the Oyster Has the Pearl, Why the Possum Has a Large Grin, Macarooned on a Dessert Island, and other Pelican titles. Downing lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Christina Wald specializes in illustration and toy, giftware, and product design. Some of her clients include Scholastic and Hasbro, Inc. Wald graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning with a BS in industrial design. She is the illustrator of Pelican's Annie Jump Cannon, Astronomer and Why the Possum Has a Large Grin. Wald lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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