Three animal friends try to figure out why a sugar glider’s favorite food is missing and encounter a new neighbor in their community.
The three anthropomorphic, nocturnal animals, Tobin (a pangolin), Bismark (a sugar glider), and Dawn (a fox), are puzzled when Bismark finds only one pomelo in the tree. They hear strange sounds and smell unfamiliar scents, both of which cause them to conclude they “have a prowler in [their] presence.” This turns out to be a possum, who plays dead when she is frightened by the others. Bismark, already annoyed that she’s taken at least one pomelo, thinks her behavior is “peculiar,” and he tells her so when she comes to. Alliteration with the letter p dominates several of the ensuing passages as Penny the possum defends herself against Bismark’s insults (Penny’s “not pleasant” but “peculiar”; “Penny prowls and she pillages”). The other animals take her side, and eventually Bismark apologizes. The writing is both stilted and likely too sophisticated for many new readers; the art, which is largely redundant of text, provides cues to help readers with decoding, but its uninspired setting and bland, animation-inspired characterization do little to enhance the feeble storytelling. (Editor's note, 9/13/18: In our original review of this book, printed in our 9/1/18 issue, we expressed a concern about the grammatical use of "lay" instead of "lie." The publisher has corrected that error, so we have revised the review to reflect the book that will be available to consumers.)
Not exactly peculiar but far from compelling. (Early reader. 6-8)