The midnight possum by Sally Morgan

cover image

Ill. by Jess Racklyeft. Omnibus Books, 2016. ISBN 9781742991047
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Possums. Adventures. Suspense. When possum climbs across the tree tops, and into the forest red gum tree covered with blossom, he eagerly anticipates his meal. It is dark, midnight dark, his favourite time, but he hears a cry from the rooftop nearby and going off to investigate finds a mother possum with a young possum on her back. She tells him that her baby is missing, the twin has disappeared. Possum checks the surrounding area, and the last place he looks, down the chimney, finds the baby possum clinging to a ledge. He climbs down imploring the little fellow to jump onto his back, but in doing so both tumble to the floor below. Inside the house they must navigate some obstacles until they find the cat flap and escape. After an enthusiastic thank you from mother possum, possum can now satisfy the cries from his own tummy and get to that blossom.
This delightful story, full of suspense will have children eagerly listening to see how the possums escape the house, and hear how the baby is reunited with mum. The story is full of Australia's environment, many animals litter the pages alongside fauna of the Australian bush. Some hints are given about how man has encroached upon the animal's habitat, with dangers lurking for the unwary.
The illustrations are done using digital collage, giving an effect of cut out and mixed media, adding a level of interest to the story.
Some of the double page spreads stand out: the second double page reprises the trees of the title page, standing starkly against the white background, and the double page showing the attic of the house, too is wonderful. The end papers reflect the flowering gum that the possum eats and encourages readers to look at the flowers of the trees around them.
Fran Knight