Written and Illustrated by Anne Hunter
Houghton Mifflin, 1996
Possum awoke one autumn evening. Shining through the grass was the biggest, brightest, yellowest harvest moon.
The plot in a nutshell: A possum hosts a harvest moon party.
When Possum sees the harvest moon, it inspires him to throw one final party before winter comes. He decorates his place and goes to invite his friends. The mice are too busy gathering seeds to come. The crickets are too exhausted from singing all summer and Raccoon is fattening himself up for winter so he has to spend his time eating. The frogs tell him they’re getting ready to go underground and the fireflies don’t even respond at all. Possum sadly sits alone at his party and watches the moon rise. As it rises, all the animals see it and think of how much fun a party would be and then they all head to Possum’s house, bringing friends along. They all have a wonderful time and after they leave, Possum curls up and says good night to the last light of the moon above him.
Books about possums are always welcome here at the Possum’s Bookshelf (even though our ‘possum’ is technically a bear). This was the debut picture book from author/illustrator Anne Hunter, who has published several books since, including another one about Possum in which we get to see him waking up after the long winter. I really like the way that we see all the animals realize that celebrating the harvest moon is important, too, because I know I’ve had those moments when the task at hand has to take a back seat to spending time doing something fun or being with someone special. Because the story takes place at night, the illustrations show all the animals illuminated by moonlight or moving through shadows. It’s a really enjoyable story.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that sometimes you need to take a break from your responsibilities to celebrate with your friends.