Friday, November 9, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday


 
***THANK YOU TO ALL WHO VOTED IN THE HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!  I'M HUMBLED TO HAVE WON SECOND PLACE WITH ALL THE TALENT OUT THERE!  IT WAS GREAT FUN :) ***

Title: Epossumondas
Author/Illustrator: Coleen Salley/ Janet Steves
Publisher/Date: Harcourt, Inc./ 2002
Genre/Audience: Fiction/Ages 3-7
Themes: Folktales (retelling), Noodlehead Stories, southern United States

Opening:
"Epossumondas was his mama's and his auntie's sweet little patootie.  They just loved him to death."

Synopsis: From Publishers Weekly -


"Foolish Jack is cast here as a pampered, over-mothered Louisiana possum in a refreshingly retold version by New Orleans storyteller Salley (Who's That Trippin' over My Bridge?). This familiar story takes on new silliness as the improbable possum-child interacts with his human mother. And what a mother (fans of Stevens's To Market, to Market will recognize her as the same model)! Stevens, in wickedly observant pencil and watercolor illustrations, characterizes the doting matriarch and her sister as matronly, doughy-cheeked ladies in cat-eye glasses and flowery dresses circa 1952. When the aunt sends cake home with Epossumondas, he scrunches it in his hand and ruins it. His mother chides him, "Oh, Epossumondas, you don't have the sense you were born with!" and advises him next time to carry cake on his head. When his auntie gives him butter, he unthinkingly follows his mother's advice regarding cake transport. "What you got, Epossumondas?" a raccoon asks, as the butter streams down the possum's face. "Butter," he replied. "Hmm. Don't look much like butter to me," Raccoon says drily. Salley narrates the series of mishaps with a storyteller's impeccable timing and a pleasing Southern patois that should inspire many spirited read-alouds. A note at book's end gives an overview of the tale's many incarnations all over the world."
 

Why I Love This Book:
First, I couldn't resist the cover.  I discovered this book because of the illustrator, Janet Stevens, who also illustrated To Market, To Market (which I recently posted here as a perfect picture book).  While not story related, the mother-figure is the same character, and based on renowned children's literature professor, storyteller, and author Coleen Salley!  Once I recognized this, I had to read this story.  Now, I'm not familiar with noodlehead stories.  Foolish Jack and Epaminondas are new to me and I'm fascinated by this genre of folktale (I love trickster stories, too!).  This is a funny take on the classic, where the main character is a possum! A helpful "Storyteller's Note" at the end talks about the incarnation of noodlehead stories around the world. 

Resources:
Lesson Plan for Epossumondas: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/epossumondas-lesson-plan
Epaminondas story: http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/68/fairy-tales-and-other-traditional-stories/5079/epaminondas/
Lesson Plan for Foolish Jack (includes listing of similar tales from around the world): http://www.myfreshplans.com/2010-12/foolish-jack-lesson-plans/
Books dedicated to Coleen Salley: http://coleensalley.com/dedications.htm

For more links to Perfect Picture Books, a collection of bloggers who contribute at Susanna Leonard Hill’s site, click here.

11 comments:

  1. Congrats on your story and this looks like a fun one.

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  2. Not familiar with this story, but it looks like a child pleaser. Love the cover. Love retold stories.

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  3. Congrats to you Laura! Stevens' art is terrific and makes me think she and Patricia Polacco were once roomies!

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  4. This must be quite a romp, Laura! I'm sure the little ones will have a whale of a time seeing one mishap after another! Great share

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  5. I've never heard of "noodlehead" stories either -- sounds fascinating.

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  6. Congrats, Laura, on your Halloweensie story. I must check this book out - I'm not familiar either with 'noodlehead' stories, and your description of the illustrations as 'wickedly observant' intriques me.

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  7. Congrats on your win, Laura.

    I would love to read this for the Louisiana culture about which I know so little.

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  8. When I saw the cover, I immediately thought "OOOOH! Another To Market, To Market!" That Janet Stevens is fabulous! And I love the idea of noodlehead stories! Thanks for sharing this one!

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  9. Congrats on your story! Loved it :-)

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