What Makes an Opossum Tick?

Author:  Lyn Smith     Illustrator:  Jamie Hogan

When Bailey stumbles across an opossum behind his Grandfather’s barn, he sees an opportunity to learn more about one of Earth’s oldest living fossils, a mammal which dates back millions of years to the days of the dinosaurs.

What Makes an Opossum Tick? celebrates the power of living peacefully alongside our wild Maine neighbors while sharing with readers an appreciation for all that nature has to offer.

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The animal turns in a slow circle, and I see a long scaly tail. His five-toed paws move delicately through the long grass while his tongue flicks in and out across the damp blades.

I watch as he sniffs out a rotten apple core, some bird seed, and a fat juicy slug that he devours in three bites. He tucks his head to groom the fur on his legs and chest then crawls beneath the barn.

“Hey, you’re an opossum!”


Silver Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards Winner – 2019-2020 – Environmental Issues


In her narrative and informational writing, Lyn Smith once again invites readers into the natural world of woodland animals, some who can even appear in the backyard.  Bailey’s grandfather shares facts about opossums, some that benefit humans; “They eat hundreds of ticks.”

Every page offers a delightful aspect of nature that appeals to our curiosity – from seashells to the compost bin, and of course, Oliver the opossum.  Jamie Hogan’s pastel illustrations captivate us with realistic images that portray a sense of wonder and eagerness to know more.

As she did with A Porcupine’s Promenade, Lyn Smith researched her subjects (porcupines and opossums) and provides additional information along with a glossary of vocabulary words.

We are left wondering, who will Bailey meet next?

-Gretchen Greenberg, Literacy Coach Consultant, South Portland, ME