Mem Fox: ‘Possum Magic’
Once upon a time, but not very long ago, deep in the Australian bush, there lived two possums. Their names were Hush and Grandma Poss. Grandma Poss made bush magic…
Did you know that ‘Possum Magic’ is 30?!
‘Possum Magic’ was first published in 1983, and I still have my original copy from my childhood. Though I now have it big book format, board book format and anniversary format – my original copy is the edition I most enjoy reading from. I know this book word for word – having been read it as a child, performed it as a play at university, as a storytelling at ‘Out of the Box’ and having read it as a teacher, then teacher librarian then mother…I have surely recited this book hundreds of times. The text by Mem Fox is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful read aloud texts ever written, and the illustrations by Julie Vivas catapult the entire production into the realms of book greatness. ‘Possum Magic’ is pure bush magic.
PudStar asked for Possum Magic cupcakes for her fifth birthday – we have read her this book from birth, and I hope that like myself, she one day knows the story word for word. The cupcakes were not particularly difficult at all, the possum heads were a little fiddly but were really just a Friday night in front of ABC crime with some fondant – woo hoo!
When ChickPea was born, Pud did a big book clean up in her room and gifted all the board books to ‘the baby’. I found them dumped in a huge pile in the middle of bubs room. Now that she is a beginning reader, she is loving the board books again and her most favourite to read to ChickPea is the Possum Magic boardbook. There is no lovelier sight than PudStar ‘reading’ this book to ChickPea. It has but a single word on each page, but Pud reads the pictures and tells ChickPea all about the characters and the story – visual literacy in action.
We are also lucky enough to have the ‘Possum Magic Cookbook’ which we recently made lamingtons from – because any reading of ‘Possum Magic’ must be accompanied by food. I believe this cookbook is not currently in print, but any good school library will have a copy of it and it is worth hunting down just for the gorgeous illustrations.
These ‘Possum Magic Teaching Notes’ from the publisher, Scholastic, are from 2004 when Possum Magic was just 21. They are extensive and would be a great starting point for a unit of work on ‘Possum Magic’. Mem Fox has a great website which tells the story behind ‘Possum Magic’. Her website is also the best place to start when doing an author study. My Pinterest board ‘Children’s Literature and Literacy’ has some ideas for using Possum Magic in the classroom.
Happy 30th Birthday ‘Possum Magic’