Van Laan, Nancy. Illustrated by George Booth. Possum Come a Knockin’. New York: Trumpet Club, 1990.
Conversation around the lunch table this week, made me remember this book. I have a friend, who lives near the edge of a small town. Like many of us, who live on the fringe of town, she had a possum visit her yard. She was worried that it might carry off one of her small dogs or they might try to eat it. Her story made me think about this book and how I inadvertently tormented my niece and nephews with it. It is a standard joke at our house. As a matter of fact, my husband just wandered by and said, “Oh, Possum Come a Knockin! Going to scare more, small children, are you?”
I first heard this book, when I was teaching in a private preschool. We had an itinerant music teacher, Mr. David. He read my students this book. I understood why he chose it. It had a wonderful cadence and rhythm. It was almost musical. I recorded myself reading this book (https://goo.gl/ZvigbY) to give you a feel for it. Here, also, is a link to a video of a teacher using this book in class: https://goo.gl/zcSZ6Y.
I thought it was such a wonderful, musical type of book that for the next gifting occasion I figured it was perfect for my brother-in-law and his family. He and his wife were both musicians so I thought they and their children would enjoy this book as much as I did. Alas, I forgot that they too lived at the edge of town. While they didn’t have a possum come a knockin’, they did have a possum get under their house. It made a lot of creepy scratching noises. That possum terrified my niece and nephews and unfortunately so did this book! They didn’t think it was musical or rhythmic, they thought it was scary!
Hopefully, you won’t encounter any possums and you can enjoy the cadence written into this story.
Nancy Van Laan
While I was looking at information on this author, I found someone who described her books as good for reading aloud. This book is terrific for reading aloud, I am not certain I could keep it to myself. Here are a few fun facts about this author.
- She read to pass the time on long trips.
- She wrote and illustrated her own stories when she was young.
- Her first love was ballet, but an injury ended her careers
- She has been an English teacher in a private school, a creative writing teacher at Rutgers, and a network censor at ABC.
- She has an MFA from Rutgers and has painted murals for schools and private clients
- In 1989, she began to write full-time.