April Fool Phyllis meets her French Fans!

April Fool Phyllis

Written by Susanna Leonard Hill, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler

Published by Holiday House, 2011

Themes: April Fool’s Day, weather, groundhogs, treasure hunts, blizzard

Ages: 5-8

Synopsis: Punxsutawney Phyllis, despite being only a young groundhog, is something of a weather guru, and her family should have heeded her warnings, when, on sniffing the air on April 1st morning, she predicts a mighty snow blizzard. However, some gentle teasing pursues and her predictions are ignored as the youngsters set off to solve the April Fool’s Day treasure hunt clues. The clues take them further and further from the burrow as the temperature drops and drops. The inevitable snow storm arrives and it falls upon Phyllis to come up with a solution to save the gang!

Why I like this book? Firstly, I love our spunky protagonist. She knows where her strengths lie, yet joins in the fun without sulking and is a real star when her warnings come true and she has to get them all out of a dangerous pickle.

Secondly, this is such a clever weaving of two stories in one. The grade One class I read the book to today LOVED solving the clues and were so caught up in the treasure hunt, that they were delightfully surprised and concerned when snow began to fall. It led into a great discussion on what they planned to do for April Fool’s day this year.

Thirdly, Ebbeler’s illustrations are warm, rustic and nature-loving with some wonderful details worth pouring over! And the back page on April Fools day traditions around the world went down a treat with our international kids!

Now, Phyllis arrived in Nice on Friday and despite jet lag was eager to ride pillion on my motorbike along the Palm tree lined Promenade des Anglais!

Over the weekend we visited the Nice market, where this groundhog loved the tomatoes, but wasn’t convinced about garlic.

She was fascinated by the bottles of local olive oil and I had to promise to show her some olive groves the next day.

We took a very balmy walk along the Mediterranean sea front, and Phyllis correctly estimated the temperature to be around 17ยฐC!

You may not be aware that groundhogs are very musical and Phyllis insisted on dropping a few euros in this street musician’s hat as she so enjoyed his authentic French accordion playing!

She spent time getting to know Marmite and Fudge and was glad of some furry company!

But, her highlight was reading to grade one at the International School of Monaco! Here she wasn’t sure whether to speak in English or French, or even Italian! She is truly becoming quite the international groundhog!

Susanna, thank you so much for paying for Phyllis’ airfare. We had a blast! For all you fans, follow Phyllis world tour here.

illustrations copyright Jeff Ebbeler badge designed by Donna Farrell

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36 Responses to April Fool Phyllis meets her French Fans!

  1. Erik This Kid Reivews Books says:

    That is one musical goundhog! First I hear here singing in Abilene, Texas and now she’s listening to a French street musician! WOW! Phyllis can ride a motorcycle?!? Question -What does “pillion” mean? I would LOVE to visit France! Thanks Ms. Marple!

  2. Joanna says:

    Erick, the musician seemed more than happy at being photoed with Phyllis! Pillion is the seat behind the rider on a motorbike, i.e. I couldn’t let Phyllis ride the bike herself as she doesn’t have a license, so she had to ride behind me! I need to find out now what was happening in Texas!

  3. What a lucky groundhog she is, getting to come visit you in France! I am jealous! ๐Ÿ™‚ I can tell she had a great time riding on that motorbike – she’ll probably come home demanding that I get her one of her own ๐Ÿ™‚ – and you are right about her being musical – she sings all the time on school visits – so I know how much she enjoyed the accordion player. Knowing her, she offered some goal accompaniment! How nice for her that there was a little furry company for her at your home too ๐Ÿ™‚ And getting to go to school is one of her favorite things, so it was just an all around fabulous time you showed her! Thank you so very much for having her!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. What a wonderful time Phyllis must have had in France and Monaco. The French market with those beautiful beefy tomatoes must have been a treat. And to walk through town listnening to a French accordion player, doesn’t get better. But, the walk along the Mediterranean sea front must have been such a highlight as was the visit to the international school in Monaco. She had the treat of visiting two countries — and riding on motorbike. Such a fun blog.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Phyllis’s visit to Nice, and I can tell that she thought Nice was VERY nice! (Couldn’t resist…) What a wide variety of experiences you showed her. It’s great that other people were willing to be part of the photo tour, as well. Thank you, Joanna!

  6. Ha! I love that you got other people to pose with Phyllis! I think my favorites are the market and olive oil display where she really got a taste of the culture. I also think it’s awesome that you ride a motorcycle – no wimpy scooter for Joanna! Excellent tour – thanks to both of you for such a good time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Love Phyllis & Susanna! Great post and photos Joanna ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Joanna says:

    Thanks, Colleen. Glad you are another Phyllis fan!

  9. Cathy Mealey says:

    Oo la la Phyllis! Does she have a mini-helmet to wear when on the motorbike? I’m just feeling a bit motherly and protective I suppose…

    Will she shop duty-free on the way home I wonder? Where is she off to next?

  10. Phyllis got to meet Marmite and Fudge?? I would live to meet them. They are so cute. Thanks for all of the beautiful pictures. I feel like they really showed the culture….awesome! Wonderful post :โ€ข)

  11. Does Phyllis know how fortunate she is to visit so many wonderful places and people? Can’t wait to see where she will end up next…

  12. Super job! Does Phyllis know how lucky she is?? She’s living my dream here. *sob* *rubs eyes* But I was thrilled to see this. It really made my day. Yay Phyll! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Phyllis certainly is the world’s most well-traveled groundhog. After Nice, I am just not sure how she will make do in Punxsutawney. She may become an expat.

  14. Tina Cho says:

    Looks like she had a fun time in France! Enjoyed your photos and learning about the area!

  15. Joanna says:

    Thanks, Tina, Phyllis seemed to fit right on in with the French culture! Newt time we will have to head into the mountains to meet the local marmottes.

  16. I’m getting my travel fix by reading about Phyllis. Thanks for sharing your home (and adventures) with Phyllis and us!

  17. Somehow I missed all the photos earlier this week. I saw the one at the market, but I must not have clicked on it to read the whole post. Looks like Phyllis had a great time. I love the picture with the accordion musician!

  18. Heather says:

    Oh, my, Ben and I are wishing we could have stowed away in Phyllis’s bags! Your photos are fantastic and I love that Phyllis was able to meet so many people on her visit. I am partial to big old orange and white cats, Fudge is just gorgeous.

  19. LOved Phyllis’s visit with you…. oh I would love to come ride on your bike…. I am so j!alous of her being in Nice with you. She certainly did have some fun.!

  20. Rebecca Fyfe says:

    Lovely post! There are lots of similarities where you live to where I live. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Hannah Holt says:

    Love it! Such fun photos of Phyllis and friends!

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