cover image Possum and the Peeper

Possum and the Peeper

Anne Hunter. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-84631-5

The endearing pin-eyed, pointy-nosed possum introduced in Hunter's debut, Possum's Harvest Moon, returns to inaugurate the spring in this charming tale. An infernal racket has awakened nature's creatures from their winter hibernation, and Possum, along with a pair of catbirds, a cranky bear and a muskrat, sets off to discover the source. ""Peep! Peep! Peep!"" sounds the wake-up call on this first warm day of spring as the animals venture through a woodland and swamp that are bursting with sunlight and budding flowers. While Hunter's previous book explored the woods' nocturnal landscape--swathed in crosshatch shadow and moonlight--here she washes the pages with watercolors in a cool palette of avocado greens and shimmering yellows. Double-page spreads carry readers over landscapes of newly sprouting grass and along the edges of blooming marshland, and within each, Hunter displays her whimsical sense of size and proportion (e.g., an extreme close-up of a toothy bear muzzle confronting the tiny peeper culprit). Yet the animals remain true to their habitat: when the peeper urges everyone out of bed (""Time for breakfast! Tea and toast!""), they commune around a lily pad of curled green morsels. Hunter scores again as she trumpets in the season, rousing her entrancing characters from a long rest. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)