Rabbit & Possum

illus. by Dana Wulfekotte. 40p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Feb. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062455819.
PreS-Gr 1—Rabbit has invited Possum over for snacks, but Possum has fallen fast asleep and can't be awakened until Moose shows up on the scene, rustling in the bushes for a snack of his own. Waking with a start, Possum assumes that Moose is a monster and rushes up a tree, where he promptly gets stuck. Rabbit's efforts to help Possum out of the tree form the bulk of this simple tale, with Rabbit ultimately persuading Moose to help Possum climb down—the precise mechanics of this maneuver are left to readers' imagination—thus convincing Possum that the creature he had feared was in fact, not a monster trying to eat him. While logic is not necessarily the strong suit here (possums are naturally talented tree climbers) and a panicked possum would most likely fall into a catatonic state—play dead, in other words—not bound up the nearest tree. No matter. Overly stylized, digitally colored illustrations in a muted palette do elevate this gentle friendship story.
VERDICT In a field where tales of animal friends helping one another overcome difficulties are thick on the ground, this one is probably an additional purchase at best.

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