Punxsutawney Phyllis


Punxsatawney Phyllis knows what she wants. She wants to take over Groundhog's Day duties from her famous Uncle Phil. It doesn't matter that the other adults and her brothers laugh at her. Phyllis senses that an early spring is coming, and once again, no one believes her. Not even groggy Uncle Phil ... until he goes above ground.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Parent 1: Even though this is a winter story, this is a book that can be enjoyed all year round ... especially when you need a story with a smart, science-oriented girl.

Parent 2: Energetic illustrations are fun and wonderful. Story engages a sense of JOY at being alive! Phyllis is truly an inspirational character!

Content Awareness Factors:

Some readers may see this as presenting stereotyping of gender roles / the glass ceiling. It would be nice, though, to stretch the book by including a glossary, not just a Groundhog Day history. Most of us don't know what a spring zephyr is.

Little Kid Reaction

My boys liked this book, but we didn't read it a lot.

Parent Reaction

Parent 1: There is so much to love about this book. The illustrations are fun, and the author has packed the story with lots of great information. Phyllis is both adorable and a wonderful character. She is smart (she studied the weather), persistent, respectful, and cute.

Parent Reaction

Parent 2: I did not like this book. Even though, in the end the girl wins the fight and proves you don't have to be a BOY to be the BEST one for the job, I'd like to think that I don't have to FIGHT to teach my boys that lesson! The story says Phyllis can have the job as an exception to the rule, i.e., overriding the status quo. But the status quo was wrong to begin with. Cute story, but it touched some sore spots on my feminist pride. Not a story I want to read to my children -- I don't want them thinking that the status quo was there to begin with!

Type of Book:
This picture book embeds lots of weather facts and groundhog lore in a story about a persevering groundhog.
Educational Themes:

There are lots of facts about winter and the onset of spring you can explore. Although this is fiction, there is plenty of information (and visuals if you explore the illustrations) about groundhog habits and habitat. You can also talk about family, choices, dreams, and perseverance, too.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 to 12
Recommended Age To Read Together:
4 to 9
Age of child:
Read with two boys, ages 4 and 6.
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow, at least. This is a fun story to share. Although Phyllis is a girl, the story will resonate with young boys, too (especially those who have a sister!).

Title Punxsutawney Phyllis
Author Susanna Leonard Hill
Publisher Holiday House © 2005
Illustrators Jeffrey Ebbeler
ISBN 9780823418725
Material Hard Cover
Cost $17.95
Genres Animal Character, Seasons, Weather
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