'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 10 August 2019

Review: Possum Magic

Possum Magic by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas was first published in 1983 and became an instant Australian favourite.

Many generations have shared this magical story, celebrating  the love of Grandma Poss and her baby Hush. It has been gifted to children all over the world due to the inclusion of Australia's unique animals, Australian cities and food.

Grandma Poss could weave the most amazing magic that made Hush INVISIBLE. As Hush couldn't be seen, she was safe from snakes and she could slide down kangaroo's back.

One day Hush decided that she wanted to be visible again but Grandma Poss could not find the magic spell in any of her books.

'It's something to do with food!' 

And this is the most memorable and magical part of the book, on a bicycle Grandma Poss and Hush set off visiting seven of Australia's capital cities. At each city they ate Australian food* including; Minties, pumpkin scones, Vegemite sandwiches, pavlova and lamingtons.

Fox is a weaver of magical words that lilt in the air as you read them, they have splashes of rhyme where appropriate and a beautiful rhythm that reaches into the soul.

Vivas' watercolour illustrations are soft and dreamy. She makes the Australian animals adorable with many of them seeming cuddly.

I do hope that if you have never read Possum Magic before, that you get a copy to find out which foods make Hush visible again. If you read Possum Magic a long time ago, maybe it is time to share it with a new generation of children.

Both creators have published an extensive number of children's books since Possum Magic and these stories will also delight your senses. Two of my favourite Mem Fox stories are Where Is the Green Sheep? and Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. My two favourite Julie Vivas stories are I Went Walking and Puffling.

*Food Notes: Not all of the foods mentioned originate specifically from Australia but they are often associated with traditional Anglo-Celtic Australian cuisine. Some of the food origins are shared with New Zealand. I acknowledge that according to the Oxford English Dictionary (2010), the pavlova originated in New Zealand around 1937 about seven years before Australia's first pavlova recipe was recorded.

Title: Possum Magic
Author: Mem Fox
Illustrator: Julie Vivas
Publisher: Omnibus Books, $16.99
Publication Date: 1 April 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781742763460
For ages: 3 – 7
Type: Picture Book