April Fool, Phyllis!

K-Gr 2—Punxsutawney Phyllis (Holiday House, 2005) was about Groundhog Day. This story has the young creature predicting a blizzard on the first day of April. All of the other groundhogs think that she is playing an April Fool's Day joke on them and continue with their plans for the Spring Treasure Hunt. While totally engaged in finding and following clues, they don't notice that the temperature is dropping. Before they know it, they are caught in a blizzard, and Phyllis must get the little groundhogs back to safety. She does so by creating and following a sap line all the way home. The sap line concept may be confusing to some children and that aspect of the story will need to be explained to make the resolution understandable. The illustrations are done in acrylics and are a bit muted and in earth tones, reflecting the impending doom of the blizzard. Yet they are still playful, with each groundhog having its own special feature that sets it apart from the rest: a sweater, glasses, a hat, etc. Classrooms will find good use for this book as an introduction to the season and its unpredictable weather. However, the title is a bit misleading as the story focuses more on the treasure hunt, the blizzard, and the rescue than on April foolery. Additional.—Lora Van Marel, Orland Park Public Library, IL
Thinking Punxsutawney Phyllis's April first blizzard warnings are a prank, the town goes ahead with its spring treasure hunt; throughout the story are clues readers can follow. When the groundhog kits are caught in a snowstorm, it's clever Phyllis who leads them back to the burrow. The accompanying brown-hued acrylic illustrations are rich in detail and texture.

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