Town Possum, Outback Possum by Yvonne Morrison

Title: Town Possum, Outback Possum
Author(s): Yvonne Morrison
Illustrator/Photographer: Heath McKenzie
Publisher and Year: Little Hare Books / 2011
Number of pages: 23
Genre: Fiction
This book acts as a window into the lives of two possums: Jacko, who lives in the great outdoors of the Australian outback, and Jessie, his cousin, who lives in a big city. Jessie convinces her cousin to come visit her in the city for a while, and we watch as Jacko struggles with the differences, dangers, and noises of the city. The two possums agree to disagree on their differences and go their separate ways again as Jacko declares that “there’s no place like home”, though through a funny twist ending his own home may be even noisier now thanks to a new neighbor he discovers when he gets back.
Power is distributed pretty evenly between the two main characters. The culture of the outback possum is one of the reservedness, peace and quiet, and dependence on the land, while that of the town possum is one of noise, fun, and constantly having to watch one’s back. Human characters depicted in a restaurant in one scene are depicted as very upper-class, proper, and well-dressed, eating fancy foods and being waited on by waiters in tuxedos. This clash in culture is shocking for the outback possum and is something that he’s never seen before. Though the town possum is used to it, she is more at home with her difference from the upper-class humans and is content with living outside and eating scraps out of the trash dumpster rather than town possum’s assumption that he could just go right into the restaurant.
From just a perceptual standpoint one could assume that this is just a silly children’s picture book about two possums and their klutzy adventures, though the actual story is really about knowing in your heart where your home really is and where you feel you belong. The outback possum knows he’s homesick in the big city, and the angry stuck-up restaurant-goers and the noisy busses are just a few examples of the struggles that make him feel even worse. The town possum is originally confused at why the outback possum is upset, but she soon warms up to his feels and comes to realize that everyone needs their own environment to be happy in and knows where that is in their heart.
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