Written by Susanna Leonard Hill, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
Published by Holiday House, 2011
Themes: April Fool’s Day, weather, groundhogs, treasure hunts, blizzard
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 17°C!
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.