Skip to main content

A Possum's Tail by Gabby Dawnay & Alex Barrow

A Possum's Tale by Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrow is a gem of a book that reveals something new with every reading. Both work for the very cool OKIDO, the Arts & Science Magazine for Kids, where Barrow is the Art Director and Dawnay is a contributor.

Set in a 1950s London A Possum's Tale begins with Samuel Drew and his dog (a wooden toy dog on a string) out for a stroll. Samuel passes shoppers, shopkeepers, buskers and even a Pearly King in his button suit selling balloons. Keep your eye on these folks!

Sam and his dog board a bus and get off at the London Zoo where they wind their way past the sliding penguins and sleeping snakes until they reach the possum family. Five possums, hanging upside down sleeping. But, as Sam and his dog leave the zoo, it seems that they have five little followers, tail to tail, holding on to the toy dog's tail and going wherever Sam goes.
The symmetry of the story is superb and when Sam finally discovers the possums, his response is perfect - and perfectly British? He serves them tea, but another detail from earlier in the story sends the possums back home, exactly where they belong. A Possum's Tale is a rhyming book that can be a bit clunky at times, but Barrow's intricate illustrations more than compensate. Barrow does a magnificent job creating a global village in the London of A Possum's Tale. My favorite page spread included two Buddhist monks taking a picture in front of Buckingham Palace. Dawnay and Barrow also collaborated on the picture book London Calls!, which is doing quite well in England and coming out soon here.

Also by Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrows, coming to the States in March:

London Calls!

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…