Regional focus: North America
Author: Coleen Salley
Illustrator: Janet Stevens
Genre: Children’s literature
Next month I will be traveling to New Orleans for the American Library Association National Conference. La Puerta Abierta will receive an award for Innovative International Library Projects! I am thrilled to represent our center at the conference, and I am equally as excited to explore the layers of culture in New Orleans. In honor of my next journey, today I celebrate a read aloud favorite from the south of the United States.
Epossumondas is a comical tale of a young possum, Epossumondas, who is doted on by his loving mother, a cheerful, round, and gregarious human, and his auntie. We follow Epossumndas through a series of hilarious mishaps as a result of his interpretations of language in a way that’s far too literal.
Epossumondas takes place in the south of the United States and the reader receives insight to authentic southern culture including fruit pies, alligators and vocabulary like “sweet little patootie.”
Coleen Salley explains that Epossumondas is a type of folktale known as a noodlehead story, one where mishaps happen but are not caused deliberately. The plot might be highly improbable, but not impossible.
What I love:
- Epossumondas is a really fun book to read aloud.
- The story is absolutely silly. Children and adults adore silly books.
- A book that my children have asked to be read again and again.
Themes: misunderstandings, communication, folktales, forgiveness, laughter
- Have you ever misunderstood directions and done something all wrong? What happened?
- What does Epossumondas’ mother mean when she says, “You don’t have the sense you were born with”?
- Have you ever seen a possum? Would you like to have one as a pet? Why or why not?
- In Epossumondas, Coleen Salley uses many expressions from her culture and upbringing such as “sweet little patoottie” Make a list of expressions that you and your family use that are particular to your culture.
- Investigate other animals that are native to the southern United States such as the alligator, raccoon and nutria.
- Explore other noodlehead stories and compare and contrast them with Epossumondas.