Thursday, August 12, 2010

Possum Magic by Mem Fox

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

"Once upon a time, but not very long ago, deep in the Australian bush lived two possums. Their names were Hush and Grandma Poss"
Grandma Poss practices bush magic, and turns Hush invisible to keep her safe from predators. But one day Hush wants to know what she looks like and asks Grandma Poss to make her visible again. So begins the story of Hush and Grandma Poss as they travel around Australia looking for a cure for Hush's invisibility.

This is a delightful tale that is an Australian children's classic. Written originally in 1983 it quickly became a favorite of children and has continued to be since then. Mem Fox originally wrote the story to be as Australian as possible after realising at the time, there was a limited amount of Australian children stories. The book became and remains the best known, and best selling picture book in Australia. I remember this book from my childhood, and was delighted when my mother gave it my son as a gift.

The illustrations are provided by Julie Vivas a friend of Mem Fox (who at the time did not realise she was not supposed to submit a manuscript with illustrations). They are colourful and simple. Vivas managed to capture the story beautifully in her art work. The pictures are iconic and most Australians know the images well these days.

The story is very lyrical and flows well. One thing I like about Mem Fox's children's books are that they are very easy to read aloud. Even someone who is not very good at reading aloud can make these books come alive for their children.

As previously mentioned the story is very Australian. The food, animals and cities mentioned are Australian. For those who do not live in Australia this would be an interesting book to read with your child to help teach them about Australia.

While I have read this to my 7 month old it is perhaps a little long for young babies. I found I had to read it quickly to keep his attention, sometimes I even just had to stop. I have read on Mem Fox's web page there is a board book edition specifically for babies but I am not sure if it is condensed version of the story or the full story. This book would better suit children two years and up.

A lovely book that I would recommend anyone to read to their children

Extra Bits
Mem Fox has a web site that has some wonderful background information on her books. Possum Magic has some recipes for ANZAC biscuits, Lamingtons and Pavlova.


  1. This sounds like a very cute book for children. While we are not Australian, I do think it is good when my children read books that originated from other countries.

    I went to author's website and saw that she has a youtube video of this story. I watched it and yeah...I want this for my four year old. Now, to figure out where I can get my hands on the book. Yay! Just looked... Amazon has it. It is going on my list of books to purchase once my book buying ban has been lifted.

  2. Book buying ban *gasp* dont swear around here lol.

    I technically have one in place though I am buying baby books so they dont count right?

    I'm glad you liked the reading on youtube. I didn't even see that so might check it out.