Where does bravery come from? In Ethan Nicolle’s Brave Ollie Possum, ten-year-old Ollie is terrified of night monsters and feels ashamed of himself. Then a woman in clown makeup rings the doorbell and introduces herself to Ollie’s gullible parents as a child therapist. She turns out to be an ogre-witch who turns Ollie into a possum. Now, whenever he’s afraid, his possum body goes limp. But as Ollie makes friends with other forest animals, who themselves come under threat, he finds more cause for courage. Although some chapters may feel overlong, this madcap tale includes over 200 illustrations and plenty of silly scenes, well-suited for reading aloud.
Best for: Families and middle-grade readers who don’t mind longer books.
Discern: Gruesome descriptions similar to original Grimm’s fairy tales; a man-eating ogre threatens to eat Ollie, bone by bone, but is similarly punished in the end.