Thursday 19 February 2015

Possum Games

Possum Games by Michelle Worthington, illustrated by Sandra Temple (Wombat Books)
HB RRP $19.99
ISBN 978-1-925139-13-6
Reviewed by Peta Biggin

Late at night on a rusty tin roof, just near an old mango tree, the possums compete in games of skill.  Riley has always wanted to join in, but he is not a fast runner, a high jumper or a strong thrower.  Until one particular noisy Possum Games night, Riley discovers he has some amazing skills after all.

Possum Games is a lovely book about finding your talents and a gaining sense of self.  It is told from the perspective of Riley who just cannot keep up or compete with his other possum friends.  He is slow and clumsy and often left out by the other possums.  It’s only when the humans start throwing green mangoes at the noisy group of possums that Riley learns that he can do something well; he can dodge.  Not only is he good at it, he’s better than anyone else!

This book demonstrates a situation that most children (and adults) can relate to: feeling inferior to those around you.  Despite his best efforts, Riley just isn’t as good as his friends.  It lowers his self-esteem and causes him to remove himself from the games being played.  When, by chance, he discovers he does have a talent, he not only finds the respect and admiration of the other possums but, more importantly, of himself.

Sandra Temple’s illustrations are fun and lively.  The possums have lots of personality and present as a great blend of cartoon and realism.  With possums throwing, jumping and skidding down rooves, there’s plenty of action from page to page.

Michelle Worthington was born in Brisbane and currently works and lives in the Redlands.  Winner of the 1988 Little Swaggie Award and other Australian poetry competitions, she has been published in numbers local and international poetry anthologies.  She has written several books for children including The Pink Pirate, Each The Same and Yellow Dress Day.  She can be found online at

Sandra Temple has been a professional artist, illustrator and author for more than thirty years.  The winner of many prestigious awards, she has paintings in private, corporate and government collections nationally and internationally.  She can be found online at

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