Sunday, June 9, 2013

Nonfiction Monday: Opossums

written by Mary R. Dunn
2011 (Capstone Press)
Source: Orange County Public Library

Check out Nonfiction Monday at Practically Paradise

Here's what I know about opossums: 1) They can play dead. In the South we call it "playin' possum." 2) Opossums have long tails. Better to hang on a tree branch and look cute. 3) The cute thing comes in handy since these critters are actually mean as fire. Have you ever seen an opossum's teeth? The words "razor sharp" come to mind. Don't mess with an opossum. 4) Opossums are nocturnal. I find this to be a positive since I am not. Lessens my chances of meeting one on my turf. So this is the extent of my knowledge about these creatures. What did I learn after reading Opossums?

1) There are opossums that weigh only 1.4 ounces. This is tee-tiny. 2) Opossums eat rodents. I would place a check on the Plus/Delta chart for this characteristic. 3) Opossums live only one to two years in the wild. Wonder how much human interaction plays into this? 4) Sixty kinds of opossums. My guess would have been much lower. Like one. The mean one.

Opossums is a good nonfiction choice for a late first grade - early second grade reader. It's not very long, but it is excellent practice for reading nonfiction and using it to fill in graphic organizers and/or compare to your background knowledge. A first grader could use this book to help write an opossums book or a page of a book about nocturnal animals. Here is a link to more information from National Geographic:


  1. Looks like an excellent title to use with my first graders at the beginning of the year while we teach the 5 E's Learning Cycle by Bybee (1997).

  2. Huh! Whodathunk? I must say that I have never been a fan of these particular creatures. It seems I need to do a bit of rethinking. Thanks!


  3. It's a shame that the only way we ever see them is squashed on the road. I did see one once in the daytime on the sidewalk, but I skedaddled, knowing that they're supposed to be nocturnal.

  4. We don't get opossums in Alberta and I find these critters fascinating. My only experience with them was when I lived in Melbourne, Australia for a year and had one that hung out in the garden. I thought it was beautiful. No accounting for taste, I guess.
    Thanks for the recommendation, Jeff.
    Apples with Many Seeds


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