It's evident some things run in the family for the legendary Punxsutawney Phil's niece Phyllis. The little groundhog only needs one sniff of the morning air to realize something's amiss the day of the Spring Treasure Hunt. Though it is the first of April, Phyllis earnestly warns everyone of the impending blizzard. Her cries fall on deaf ears as the suspicious rodents turn pranksters. Phil Junior sticks his paws in ice to replicate winter's grueling chill, and Pete throws confetti in the air to resemble snowflakes. Poor Phyllis initially believes their pranks. Without heeding the young forecaster's warnings, the groundhogs begin the hunt, with dramatic riddles showcasing each clue. When the celebration dissolves into a wintry mess, Phyllis both solves the mystery and guides her group home through the blustery wind. References to the "treasure" repeatedly shine in the home's interior. Warm acrylics, saturated in rich golden tones and creamy tans, offer a cozy look into this furry family's den. Layered strokes enhance the textured fur of each stocky animal. Funny details abound: A glimpse of The Woodchuck Weekly newspaper reads: "Shadows! Why do they scare us?" An author's note describes international April Fool traditions, though there's no source notes provided. No fooling—here's a lighthearted romp that highlights an often overlooked holiday. (Picture book. 5-8)Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
K-Gr 2--Punxsutawney Phyllis (Holiday House, 2005) was about Groundhog Day. This story has the young creature predicting a blizzard on the first day of April. All of the other groundhogs think that she is playing an April Fool's Day joke on them and continue with their plans for the Spring Treasure Hunt. While totally engaged in finding and following clues, they don't notice that the temperature is dropping. Before they know it, they are caught in a blizzard, and Phyllis must get the little groundhogs back to safety. She does so by creating and following a sap line all the way home. The sap line concept may be confusing to some children and that aspect of the story will need to be explained to make the resolution understandable. The illustrations are done in acrylics and are a bit muted and in earth tones, reflecting the impending doom of the blizzard. Yet they are still playful, with each groundhog having its own special feature that sets it apart from the rest: a sweater, glasses, a hat, etc. Classrooms will find good use for this book as an introduction to the season and its unpredictable weather. However, the title is a bit misleading as the story focuses more on the treasure hunt, the blizzard, and the rescue than on April foolery. Additional.--Lora Van Marel, Orland Park Public Library, IL[Page 78]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.