Cover image for Alien & Possum : friends no matter what
Alien & Possum : friends no matter what
Johnston, Tony, 1942-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2001.
Physical Description:
48 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Possum and Alien become friends and find that they have both similarities and differences.
Reading Level:
160 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.1 0.5 54803.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.2 2 Quiz: 26577 Guided reading level: K.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

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Alien is from a planet far, far away. Possum is from Earth. Alien is many bright colors, like yellow and red and green. Possum is one color -- gray. Alien thinks high voltage is delicious. Possum thinks trash is delicious. Can these two ever be friends? Without a doubt!

Author Notes

Tony Johnston was born in Los Angeles, California on January 30, 1942. She received a B.A. in history and an M.A in education from Stanford University. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a fourth-grade teacher.

She has written over 70 books for children. Her titles include Amber on the Mountain, the Cowboy and the Black-Eyed Pea, Day of the Dead, the Ghost of Nicholas Greebe, the Sparky and Eddie series, and the Adventures of Mole and Troll. Her first adult novel was Any Small Goodness.

Her works have earned her several awards including a Children's Choice Award for Four Scary Stories and the Beatty Award in 2002 for Any Small Goodness.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 1-2. When a spaceship crashes nearby, Possum goes to explore and discovers Alien, a cautious creature in a nicely rounded space suit, who overcomes his initial suspicions to become Possum's pal. The two episodes that follow concern a food-foraging prowl in which Alien tries to befriend a trash can and a novel solution for Possum's problem of falling asleep before he finishes his bedtime story. Johnston's ready wit and understanding of a child's perspective combine well with amiable depictions of the characters. From the warm, subtle tones of the watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil artwork to the expressive body language of the characters, the pictures convey a sense of childlike feelings within both animal and alien exteriors. An enjoyable beginning reader with laugh-out-loud moments. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Three droll vignettes make up Johnston's (The Iguana Brothers) appealing launch of the Alien & Possum beginner reader series, which introduces two very different pals. After Possum (wearing a spiffy bowler hat) observes a spaceship crash near his tree house, he encounters its passenger: "It was made of many strange things. It made many strange sounds." Alien is also "many colors" while Possum is but one hue: gray. Though the author drums the message home a bit loudly in the first vignette ("Things of all colors can be friends," says Possum), for the most part, the morals are delivered with subtlety and wit, focusing on the ability of friendships to ride out various challenges. In the final story, for instance, Possum falls asleep while Alien reads him a bedtime story and then eats the book ("It was such a good bedtime story I ate it"), but the creature's "electro-perfect memory" enables him to recite the story for Possum when he awakens. DiTerlizzi's (Ted) copious watercolor, gouache and colored pencil illustrations enhance both the humor and the warmth of the caper and help recommend it for readers ready to take a step up from picture books. A springy pace, lively dialogue and Alien's silly sound effects should make this, like Possum's bedtime story, an ideal read-aloud. Ages 6-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-When a spaceship drops out of the sky and a space creature arrives in his woods, Possum makes kindly gestures toward the fearful alien and the two of them become friends. They talk about the things they have in common and the things that make them different. In the second vignette, Possum takes Alien on a nocturnal jaunt in search of a midnight treat. While Possum scavenges for food, the newcomer tries to converse with the trash can. In the last section, the friends struggle to keep Possum awake to hear the end of a bedtime story that Alien is reading with all sorts of tricks including pinches and ice cubes. Children will enjoy the gentle humor and the friendship between the characters. The appealing illustrations reinforce the mood and provide visual clues. There is a whimsical charm to the story that is perfectly captured by the sweet expressions of the protagonists. This first book in a new series will hold definite appeal for fans of Arnold Lobel's "Frog and Toad" series (HarperCollins).-Maura Bresnahan, Shawsheen School, Andover, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.