In the lead-up to the Olympics, we have received many emails and messages requesting some Olympic-themed book recommendations. The My Little Bookcase community pulled together to collate a small list of books and Early Childhood teacher, Leanne Dunn, kindly wrote a review of The Possum Creek Olympics for us to feature. It is a book that makes a suitable resource for helping young children to learn about the Olympics.
The Possum Creek Olympics is a 29 page medium sized paperback book. It is written as a poem with a six line verse on each page. The final words of each line rhyme, which the reader can emphasise for their children listeners.
The story depicts Australian animals that live near a billabong: Kangaroo, Kookaburra, Platypus, Galah, Koala, Numbat, Emu and Cockatoo etc. The Old Professor Cockatoo announces that Possum Creek has been selected to hold the next Olympics. The poem continues to show the animals creating their Olympic village with a swimming pool, track and even accommodation for the athletes.
The Olympics are held and races depict Australian, African and Chinese animals competing against each other. The poem is very authentic up until this point and could be used within an Early Childhood program or in the home environment to highlight what takes place before and during an Olympic event.
As an Early Childhood teacher, my only criticism of the book is that only Australian animals stand upon the podium to receive medals. Although the author has been very realistic in his portrayal of the logistics of preparing for an Olympic event he hasn’t allowed for any other country to win the events. The author refers to ‘fair play’ earlier in the book, and maybe the story would have seemed fairer if a range of teams won the medals. This limitation in the book is important to note if you wanted to role-play the story.
Overall, this book has whimsical characters that perform human tasks such as building, reading, competing and singing. I have used this book in a preschool program in the past but have always used it in conjunction with other authentic resources such as newspaper and magazine clippings of Olympic events to ensure that learning and play remained authentic and relevant.
The Possum Creek Olympics
Author: Dan Vallely
Illustrator: Yvonne Perrin
Publisher: Murray David Publishing, 2003
Other titles by this author:
Possum Creek’s Exciting Moon Adventure
The Great Possum Creek Bush Fire
Possum Creek’s Big Flood
Possum Creek and the Animals Noah Forgot
Professor Cockatoo’s Amazing Weather Dust
The Great Possum Creek Drought
Possum One The Outback Rocketship
The Lost World of Possum Creek
The Great Possum Creek Earthquake