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

Monday 20 March 2023

Review: It's Time All Possums Went To Bed

It’s taken me almost as long to write this review as it has taken Miss Milly to finally get into bed. 

Like all good picture book odes to the often-unwelcome shenanigans associated with bedtime, this version by Queensland author, Jacqui Halpin and UK illustrator, Gavin Scott takes a familiar ordinary every day struggle and turns it into a sweet game of patience and creativity between mother and child.

It's bedtime and Milly is hosting a late-night tea party with her assortment of Aussie bush mates. As head of entertainment, Mum concedes to a few more moments of play but insists it’s bedtime afterwards. Milly assumes the personality of a possum allowing herself to be fed grapes and juicy pears. But when Mum announces that it’s time all possums went to bed, Milly counters with the proclamation that she is now a bilby.

And so, the imaginative verbal tug of war continues. Each time Mum plays along, Milly’s transfigurations grow more and more involved. Echidnas roll about the floor. Emus peck for grains. Kangaroos bounce across the bedcovers. It’s not until the sleepy old wombat finally emerges that Milly stifles a yawn and caves in to sleep.

It’s fairly common Australian vernacular to address little children as possums. At least it was so in mine and Jacqui’s day. So, having Milly actually posing as a possum refusing to give in is equally familiar and pertinent to the storyline.

Lightly rhyming text sways merrily from one procrastinating caper to the next ending with a repeated refrain that encourages pre-emptive reading but also provides snuggly comfort and reassurance that going to bed is not as unpleasurable as first perceived.

All this coupled with Scott’s super sweet, pink-hued illustrations ensures Possums … could be a bedtime favourite. Or at least fire up the imaginations of 3 – 6-year-olds everywhere as they hold out for Mr Sandman. Wait, what!

Regardless, add it to your go-to pile of sleep time standards, quick sticks!

Ironically, it took Jacqui almost as long to get this charming story published as it did I to review it and Milly to get to bed! You can read all about the process in Jacqui’s KBR Guest Post.

Title: It’s Time All Possums Went To Bed
Author: Jacqui Halpin
Illustrator: Gavin Scott
Publisher: Affirm Press, $19.99
Publication Date: 29 March 2022
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781922400864
For ages: 3 – 6
Type: Picture Book