A Possum's Tail

illus. by Alex Barrow. 40p. Tate. Nov. 2014. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781849762212.
PreS-Gr 1—Little Samuel Drew and his toy dog travel across busy London to the zoo to visit a possum with five babies hanging upside down on a branch, all of whom are fast asleep. Sam turns around and retraces his steps, discovering upon arrival that the young possums have followed him home. He offers them a picnic, but they are soon swept away on a bunch of balloons and carried back to the zoo. Careful observers will notice that one possum is missing but will be relieved to find on the final page that it is safe in Sam's garden, eating cake. The book is a mixed bag, with charming text and illustrations but a slight story. That said, the rhyming text is cheerful and mostly scans well. The sketchy, old-fashioned images depict a London crowded with friendly people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. Humorous details abound, such as the surprised reactions of the crowds to the escaped possums. Oddly, the rather expressionless illustration of Sam and his dog walking along seems to have been digitally reproduced from page to page, lending sameness to the otherwise dynamic art. Teachers may find Sam's journey to the zoo and back again useful for teaching sequencing, and the upbeat text and artwork will draw children in, but the lightweight story makes the book an additional purchase.—Heidi Estrin, Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL

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