Punxsutawney Phyllis — Perfect Picture Book Friday

It may seem a little odd to feature a book about Groundhog Day just a few weeks before Christmas, but since I have been celebrating PPBF and Susanna Leonard Hill all week, I wanted to feature one of Susanna’s books, and she hasn’t yet written a book about December holidays. (That’s a hint, Susanna…) 😉

Title: Punxsutawney Phyllis

Author: Susanna Leonard Hill

Illustrator:  Jeffrey Ebbeler

Publisher: New York: Holiday House, 2005

Genre: Picture book, fiction

Audience Age: 3 to 8 years

Themes/topics: Groundhog Day, groundhogs, spring, signs of spring, determination, gender roles, traditions

Opening Sentences: Phyllis was not like the other groundhogs. She liked to get up in February instead of in March. She liked to be outdoors instead of indoors.

Synopsis: Phyllis, a rambunctious young groundhog, wakes up early – on February 2nd, Groundhog Day, in fact – and senses signs of an early spring. No one believes her, and everyone discounts her wish to be the next Punxsutawney Phil. Punxsutawney Phil has always been a male! She can’t even convince Uncle Phil, who finally wakes up, reluctantly, and drowsily goes outside to make his prediction, missing all the signs that are apparent to Phyllis. Finally, as she points out each sign to him, he realizes that she is right, and that everyone else, including him, has been wrong about spring. He also proclaims that they have been wrong about not having a female Punxsutawney Phil. Phyllis is triumphant!

Activities/Resources: There are no groundhogs where I live, so the first activity I would suggest would be learning about them. There is information on the National Geographic Kids site, as well as the BioKids site of the University of Michigan.

There is a page of information about Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil (as well as Canada’s Wiarton Willie) at the end of the book. Susanna’s website also has many activities for this and all of her books.

EDITED TO ADD: Pam suggested an excellent activity in the comments on this post, and I am adding it here: “I think a fun outdoor activity for preschoolers would be to have fun with shadows while on the playground. Greg & Steve have a great song called “Shadow Dancing” that I think I’ll incorporate into the playground fun!” Here’s a link to Greg and Steve’s website.

Availability: Readily available in paperback.

Every Friday, bloggers join together to share picture book reviews and resources, thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill’s brainchild, “Perfect Picture Book Fridays.” Susanna then adds the books (and links to the reviews) to a comprehensive listing by subject on her blog. Find the entire listing at her “Perfect Picture Books.”


36 thoughts on “Punxsutawney Phyllis — Perfect Picture Book Friday”

  1. This has been the best week ever, Beth! First the PPBF post, then the interview where everyone was so incredibly nice, and now Phyllis gets her moment in the spotlight! I am honored and touched that you think Phyllis is worthy of inclusion on the PPB list. Thank you so much for adding it, and thank you for a great week of celebration over here! 🙂

  2. Beth, you could not have made a better choice for this PPBF. With Susanna’s blogiversary on Saturday, this is a great suggestion. I think a fun outdoor activity for preschoolers would be to have fun with shadows while on the playground. Greg & Steve have a great song called “Shadow Dancing” that I think I’ll incorporate into the playground fun! Thanks for suggesting this book, Beth!

  3. I like how you kept your theme going all week with Susanna. A perfect choice since it is the anniversary of her blog. I love this book. Gave it to my granddaughter and she adores it! It should be on our PPB list because it is so unique!

  4. Phyllis says thank you to everyone who likes her 🙂 And Holiday House is holding a Phyllis Valentine story but I don’t think they’ll pick it up because April Fool didn’t do as well as they were hoping. Maybe I should try a Christmas one… 🙂

    1. Susanna and Phyllis — you’re most welcome! Such a shame that April Fool didn’t do as well as we all think it should. I’ll add my vote for a Christmas Phyllis book!

  5. I’ve not seen this book yet, but I’m guessing it’s an excellent one! I’ll have to look for it at the library! Thanks to you for suggesting it and thanks to Susanna for all that she does! Y’all are excellent people!

  6. I love celebrating groundhog day with the kids. Susanna’s book will be an awesome addition to my small collection of groundhog books. Thanks!

    1. I am delighted that I led you to Susanna — and you are definitely going to love Susanna’s books. Besides the two Phyllis books, I *HIGHLY* recommend “Can’t Sleep Without Sheep” and “Not Yet, Rose.”

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