Literature Connections to
Mother Opossum and Her Babies

Teacher's Guides > Mother Opossum and Her Babies

Animal Tracks
Animals of the Night
Don’t Laugh, Joe!

How Chipmunk Got Tiny Feet
Inch by Inch
Katy No-Pocket

Native American Animal Stories
Opossum at Sycamore Road
A Pocket for Corduroy
Possum and the Peeper
possum baby
Possum’s Harvest Moon
Ten Beads Tall
Whose Footprints?

Animal Tracks
by Arthur Dorros
Scholastic, New York. 1991
Grades: K–3
This book makes a game out of guessing whose tracks or signs are shown along a sandy shoreline. After the tracks are shown, the reader turns the page to see the animal responsible and is then asked to guess about another set of tracks. This book is a great way to extend the concept of how tracks and signs can tell about the lives and identity of animals.

Animals of the Night
by Merry Banks; illustrated by Ronald Himler
Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. 1990
Grades: P–1
Simple text and warm rich watercolor illustrations portray the activities of animals that are active at night. Several animals are shown coming out of their daytime resting places to go about their nightly rituals. Provides a good introduction to nocturnal animals and shows students some of the things that occur while they’re in bed at night.

Don’t Laugh, Joe!
by Keiko Kasza
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York. 1997
Grades: P–1
One can’t help but laugh along with this delightful story of a mother opossum who is struggling to teach her giggly son Joe an important lesson—how to play dead. A grumpy old bear helps him learn the lesson, but then Joe is surprised by the bear’s intentions. The delightful illustrations round out a well-told story.

How Chipmunk Got Tiny Feet: Native American Animal Origin Stories
collected and retold by Gerald Hausman; illustrated by Ashley Wolff
HarperCollins, New York. 1995
Grades: K–4
This nicely illustrated collection of stories contains "How Possum Lost His Tail" which explains certain characteristics of the opossum and other animals. The other six origin tales in the book also tell a story about how the animals came to be what they are today.

Inch by Inch
by Leo Lionni
Astor-Honor, New York. 1960
Grades: P–1
An inchworm measures a variety of birds and cleverly escapes the ones that threaten to eat him. A peaceful story that’s useful for demonstrating alternative ways to measure objects—as students do in several activities in the guide.

Katy No-Pocket
by Emmy Payne; illustrated by H.A. Rey
Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 1944
Grades: P–1
This is the classic story of Katy, a mother kangaroo who has no pocket in which to carry her son. To get some ideas on what to do, she asks many other animals how they carry their young. The wise owl advises her to go to the city where Katy finds the perfect pocket. Ties in well with the pocket and pouch activities of the guide.

Native American Animal Stories
told by Joseph Bruchac
from Keepers of the Animals by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac
Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado. 1992
Grades: All ages
This book contains the stories taken from Keepers of the Animals. There are several stories about creation and celebration, and others for learning lessons. In the Cherokee story "Why Possum Has a Naked Tail," one learns not just about the tail, but also about why opossum plays dead, has a silly grin, and the perils of being boastful. See also the "Resources" list for a set of two audio cassettes containing all the stories.

Opossum at Sycamore Road
by Sally M. Walker; illustrated by Joel Snyder
Soundprints, Norwalk, Connecticut. 1997
Grades: K–3
Part of the Smithsonian’s Backyard series, this book tells of the adventures of an opossum mother and her young as they travel through the backyard of a house. As the family searches for food they tangle with trash cans and a big brown dog. The book can be purchased alone or with a 12-inch mother and six-inch baby stuffed toy opossum.

A Pocket for Corduroy
by Don Freeman
Viking Press, New York. 1978
Grades: P–2
While at the laundromat with his good friend Lisa, Corduroy decides he wants to find a pocket for himself. He wanders about and becomes lost, but has a grand adventure. The next morning, when Lisa finds him, she gives him a pocket and another special gift.

Possum and the Peeper
by Anne Hunter
Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 1998
Grades: K–3
When Possum is awakened on the first warm day of spring by a loud noise that won’t stop, he and several other animals set out to discover who is making all the racket. In the end, the animals are glad to be awake to enjoy the smells, sounds, and sights of spring. In this story the animals locate the sound using their ears, much like the students identify and find foods using their noses in Activity 1.

possum baby
by Berniece Freschet; illustrated by Jim Arnosky
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York. 1978
Grades: P–2
This gentle story chronicles the life of a timid opossum. At first hesitant to leave the warmth and safety of his mother’s pouch, the young opossum eventually learns to get along in his new world. As the story unfolds quite a bit of information about opossums is conveyed. The story has a strong connection to the guide’s activities about young opossums leaving the pouch.

Possum’s Harvest Moon
by Anne Hunter
Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 1996
Grades: K–3
When Possum awakes one autumn evening to see a harvest moon, he decides to have a party to celebrate the beautiful moon one last time before the long winter. At first his animal friends decline his invitation, but then realize Possum has a great idea. The animals all have a wonderful time singing and dancing at the party, then retire for the long winter.

Ten Beads Tall
by Pam Adams
Child’s Play, Auburn, Maine. 1993
Grades: P–1
This is an excellent book to demonstrate how things can be measured in non-standard ways. Attached to the book is a string of square beads which are used to measure the illustrations. Statements and questions on each page challenge the reader. A great connection to the measuring activities in the guide.

Whose Footprints?
by Molly Coxe
Thomas Y. Crowell, New York. 1990
Grades: P–1
When a mother and daughter go on a walk across their farm through the snow, they discover many sets of tracks and have fun identifying them. It is a pleasant and peaceful story which connects well with the activities about the opossum’s feet.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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