Daily Archives: May 14, 2007

Possum Magic

possum_cover.gifWhen I was teaching in Australian schools all those years ago Possum Magic was a classic, I’m sure it still is. I owned a Big Book version which I kept in the class room to read to the class. Today B6 and I read the big copy and enjoyed it very much. He knows many Australian animals but probably not as many as the girls did at his age. I think it made it a little more fun to read as he recognised some and puzzled over others.

Possum Magic is about Grandma Poss and Hush, her little grand-daughter. Grandma Poss has some basic magic skills, enough to make Hush invisible but not enough to change her back when the novelty wears off. She has a hunch that the magical remedy involves food.

In order to become visible Grandma and Hush set off around Australia in search of quintessential Aussie cuisine. B6 knew many of the foods mentioned (because we make them) but not all. He had never heard of a Mintie and wasn’t clear on what a mornay was either. Tomorrow we are going to make one of the foods which restored some of Hush’s visibility so I’ll let you know how that goes.

Julie Vivas’ watercolour pictures are beautiful. The rainbow serpent in particular caught our eyes, especially in the big book version as it takes up the whole double page spread. B6 recognised the famous landmarks dotted through the pages and was entertained by the whole book. It hasn’t changed his opinion of Vegemite though, it must be the Canadian coming out in him.

Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia

B6 has had a whirlwind tour through the above countries, I wish I had been organised enough to provide authentic cuisine for each of the stops but I wasn’t. We did read some good books to give us some glimpses of life in South East Asia. I didn’t plan it that way but for each country I had a book which featured the daily life of a child. In Thailand we read of a small village where elephants are trained as work animals and the children who own one particular elephant. The book An Elephant in my Backyard by Richard Sobol had great photos to give us an idea of a child’s life very different from B6’s.

While in Vietnam we read about the twins, Huy and Vinh, in A Child’s Day in a Vietnamese City. Both B6 and I thought it sounded cool to buy a spicy noodle dish for breakfast on the way to school and visit the beach each afternoon after school. We were introduced to Yati in Malaysia while reading Children of the World: Malaysia. B6 enjoyed the Malaysian folk tale Kancil and the Crocodiles where a little turtle and a mouse deer outsmart a river full of crocodiles.

He’s off to Australia next, although he is an Australian citizen he has only spent one month there, much of which he doesn’t remember, he told us the other day. Believe it or not, I do have a few books and photos so perhaps I can jog his memory.