Why the Possum has a Large Grin


Why the Possum has a Large Grin


Move over Bre’r Rabbit, there’s a new trickster in town! When hungry Deer asks Possum how he stays so plump during the long dry season, the sly marsupial gets an idea. It wouldn’t take much for Possum to help Deer; he could just climb that ol’ persimmon tree and knock down the fruit. But Possum is just plain lazy and he’d rather trick Deer into doing the work for both of them. Once Possum decides to take advantage of his starving neighbor they both become marked forever.

Age Range: 5-8 years
Grade Level: K-3
Release Date: September 14, 2012
Hardcover: 32 pages
ISBN: 978-1455616398

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"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..." - Kirkus Review

"An adaptation of a traditional Choctaw tale told in the rhythmic verse reminiscent of the classic Br'er Rabbit tales, this vivid and clever story comes to life through illustrations and unique storytelling. Sly Possum is manipulative and knows that the very hungry Deer will do anything to reach the beautiful persimmons waiting in the tree. Possum is hungry as well, but does not feel like helping Deer-he's just too lazy! Possum could simply climb the tree and knock down the fruit, but he prefers to trick Deer into doing all the work. Deer tries his hardest to get the persimmons down, but Possum only laughs and laughs. What results is a change in both of them that lasts forever." - Good Reads